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L I E> RARY 

OF THL 

UNIVLRSITY 

or ILLINOIS 



823 

f?43le 



THE EARL'S PROMISE. 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2010 with funding from 

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign 



http://www.archive.org/details/earlspromisenove03ridd 



THE EARL'S PROMISE. 



% %M. 



MES. RIDDELL, 

AUTHOK OP 

GEOEGE GEITH," "TOO MUCH ALONE," "HOME, SWEET HOME, 
ETC. 



IN THREE VOLUMES. 
VOL. III. 



LONDON . 

TINSLEY BROTHERS. 8 CATHERINE STREET, STRAND. 
1873. 

[All rights of Trantlatioi} and Saproduvfion are Eeserred.'] 



FEINTED Bf TATLOE AND CO., 
LITTLE QtTEEN STREET, LINCOLN'S INN FIELDS. 



n3 

V.3 



CONTENTS 



OF 



THE THIRD VOLUME. 



CHAP 
I. 


LEFT ALL ALONE 


PAUB 
1 


II. 


SAYING GOOD-BYE 


. 21 


III. 


BREAKING THE ICE 


. 54 


IV. 


GRACE TELLS HER STORY . . . . 


. 72 


V. 


ALMOST TOO LATE 


. 98 


VI. 


MR. Brady's ex-projects . . . . 


. 120 


VII. 


KINGSLOUGH IS PLACARDED 


. 142 


VIII. 


BAD NEWS 


. 161 


IX. 


GRACE VISITS MARYVILLE . . . . 


. 187 


X. 


A RAY OF LIGHT 


. 214 


XI. 


IN THE NIGHT-WATCHES . . . . 


. 230 


XIT 


TWO INTERVIEWS 


. 260 


XIII. 


CONCLUSION ...... 


. 307 



THE EAKL'S PEOMISE 



CHAPTER I. 

LEFT ALL ALONE. 

Between them, Drs. Murney and Connelley 
devised some plan of treatment designed to 
comfort Dr. Girvan, to provide the inmates of 
Bayview with an ideal occupation, and to 
impress Grace with the conviction that nothing 
which could be done to save her father was 
being left undone. 

True to his determination. Dr. Girvan, spite 
of all entreaties to the contrary, broke the news 
of Mr. Moffat's danger to his daughter, accusing 
himself, at the same time, with having been 
the cause of that danger. 

^'Ye trusted me," he said, in that homely 

VOL. III. B 



The EarPs Pn 



omise. 



Irish accent which is never so sweet as when 
the speaker is in trouble and breathes a 
pathetic tone with every word, — " Ye trusted 
me, and this is how I've recompensed ye ; and 
all because of my own hatred — God forgive 
me ! — and my own conceit. Had it been Dr. 
Murney or Connelley that said I was wrong, 
I'd have listened to either of them ; but as it 
is, my heart is breaking to think about you 
and him." 

Into the old, honest face, puckered with 
emotion, into the eyes that had looked at her 
with a kindly light in them so often, Grace 
gazed for a minute. She was not so besotted 
with her own grief that she failed to see the 
bitterer grief of another, that she could note 
unmoved the anguish of repentance that had 
rendered this old man who made his tremulous 
confession almost beside himself with remorse ; 
and though tears lay too high for her to trust 
herself to answer him verbally, she took his 
hand in both of hers, with a pitying gesture, 
more eloquent than any form of speech. 

Had Doctor Girvan been the most consum- 



Left All Alone, 



mate diplomatist, instead of an honest, well- 
meaning, behind- the-age old man, he could not 
have hit on a plan better calculated to retain 
Grace's kindly feeling than that of a free and 
open confession. 

After all, it is never what a person tells of 
himself, but what others say of him, that 
damages him materially. The frank plea of 
guilty takes the worst of the sting out of many 
a social as well as legal crime. 

It may not be the highest nature which is 
ready to confess to man, but it is nevertheless 
the sort of nature man likes best ; and whereas, 
had Dr. Girvan failed to take the whole of the 
blame on his own shoulders, she would have 
retained an exceeding bitter remembrance of 
his determined rejection of Mr. Hanlon's 
opinion, she never, as matters now stood, 
thought in the future of her father's life sacri- 
ficed as it was to old tradition, without at the 
same time recalling the picture of an aged man's 
anguished face while he in the same breath 
entreated her forgiveness and blamed himself 



for having caused her such misery. 



The EarPs P. 



romise. 



Further, Drs. Murney and Coimelley, 
shocked at so open a display of professional 
insufficiency, lack of reticence, and disregard 
of medical etiquette, deeming it best to make 
out as good a case for their fellow-practitioner 
as his imbecile and indiscreet revelations left 
possible, took immediate opportunity to efface 
as far as might be the impression such a direful 
abuse of common discretion was calculated to 
produce. 

Between them they succeeded in sketching 
and filling in a very creditable series of facts 
founded on fiction ; that is to say, the general 
conclusion at which they arrived was right, 
though the premises on which those conclusions 
were founded were wrong. 

The case, they assured her, was a most 
obscure one. How far Dr. Girvan had been 
right in his course of treatment they could not 
tell, owing to the length of time which elapsed 
between Mr. Moffat's attack and their own 
arrival ; but there was no doubt he had medical 
precedent of the highest authority for all he 
did, and if he erred, it was from no lack of 



Left All Alone. 



skill or prudence, but simply because nature 
bad cbosen to clotbe tbe complaint in a dress 
similar to that worn by a totally distinct 
disease; Mr. ^ Hanlon's diagnosis of tbe 
case migbt not really bave been one wbit more 
correct tban Dr. Gir van's ; and finally tbey 
assured Miss Moffat tbat everytbing wbicb 
could be done bad been done, and sbould be 
done. '^ If skill and attention can save bim," 
said Dr. Murney '^be will be spared to you." 
And tbey left Grace, tbinking tbey bad glossed 
over tbe little error in judgment very neatly. 

Mr. Hanlon lingered bebind tbem for a 
moment. He bad all a young man's entbusi- 
asm for trutb being always presented as a 
nude figure, and bis public experiences of 
stating unpleasant facts witbout tbe sligbtest 
atom of clotbing veiling tbeir deformity tended 
undoubtedly to encourage tbis outspoken frank- 
ness on disagreeable topics. 

For bis life be could not see wbat good pur- 
pose tbe doctors proposed to effect by mystify- 
ing Miss Moffat as to ber fatber's state. 

'-'- Tbey are raising false bopcs," be tbougbt, 



The EarPs Promise, 



and so waited to hear what remark Grace 
might have to make. 

Doctor Murney's last words, which Dr. 
Connelley ratified with an approving smile, 
had been, ^' If skill and attention can save him, 
he will be spared to you." 

'^ And what do you say, Mr. Hanlon?" she 
asked. 

^^ You have heard what Dr. Murney's 
opinion is," he answered. 

" Yes, and I think I know what it is worth. 
The promise contained in his words will be 
kept to the ear and broken to the heart. Be 
frank with me, Mr. Hanlon ; it is so, is it not ? " 

^' I do not like to answer you," he said. 

"But what is the use of deceiving me ? " 
she asked. 

" None," was his answer. 

"You believe, then, there is no hope ?" 

" I believe nothing can save him," he said 
slowly. " But we will all do our best, you 
may be sure of that. Miss Moffat." 

" Thank you," she answered. The words 
were nothing, but the tone in which she 



Left All Alone, 



spoke them went straight to the surgeon's 
heart. 

"I wish that idiot Guwan had been dead 
and buried rather than he shouki have meddled 
in the case," thought the surgeon. '^ And yet, 
perhaps, it is as well. A few years might 
have been added to this man's life, but how 
could he have found enjoyment in them, with 
the dread of this dogging his path ? Better 
as it is," decided Mr. Hanlon philosophically. 
Like many other social reformers, his ideas 
about the value of life were extremely lax. 
The nation, the race, the world, posterity, these 
were the objects he desired to benefit. 

What did a few or many lives matter, pro- 
viding the grand result were obtained ? What 
mattered it whether thousands died broken- 
hearted, if by the travail of their souls millions 
yet unborn tasted the delights of perfect equality 
of (this was a telling platform phrase, perhaps 
because there is no country — unless, indeed, it 
may be Scotland, where there is less uncovering, 
except amongst the beggars, than in Ireland) 
— ^' doffing their hats to no man." 



8 The EarPs Promise, 

Mr. Hanlon said, and doubtless thouglit lie 
spoke the truth, he would cheerfully lay down 
his life to emancipate Ireland. 

There is a considerable difference, however, 
between abstract propositions and actual prac- 
tice. When the time came that Mr. Hanlon's 
chances of existence seemed jeopardized, he 
proved himself as solicitous to extend his 
days as the veriest aristocrat might have 
been. 

IN'evertheless his theories on the subject being 
that as a man had to die some time, it did not 
much matter when he died, he began after a 
time to consider that perhaps it was quite as 
well Mr. Moffat should not recover. 

He had been a negative quantity ever since 
his arrival in Ireland. He had not done any 
harm, but he had not done any good. He 
occupied the place where a better man might 
stand, or which no man might advantageously 
fail to occupy. 

A woman with money, a willing heart, an 
open hand, was of ten times more use in her 
generation than a man. Perhaps he had in his 



Left All Alone, 



Baind the old saying, ''When women reign — 
men rule." 

At any rate, he thought he could find a use 
for much of Miss Moffat*s income, not a use so 
far as he personally was concerned ; he was 
not mercenary; good things he desired, but 
those it was beyond the power of gold to pur- 
chase. ^N'o, he would relieve the poor, he would 
advance the cause, he would drive the wedge 
destined to split up ''the dynasty of op^^res- 
sion," and Grace's money would help him to 
these ends. 

She could not well now refuse to recognize 
him as a friend. His knowledge of society 
was so sKght, he had not the faintest idea two 
such alien barks as his and hers might come 
nigh together, and have for a few hours a 
common interest and then part, " like a dream 
on the wide deep." He railed against society ; 
but of its ideas, customs, habits of thought, 
modes of action, he was ignorant as a child. 

Already he had sketched out a course of 
action for Grace and himself — arranged the 
pecuniary part she was to play in the drama, 



lo The EarPs Promise, 

and the various modes in wliicli her money 
would enable him better to enact the character 
he had elected to fill. 

His interest, professionally, in Mr. Moffat 
had departed. He could do nothing for him — 
no one could do anything for him. He had 
even in the course of his limited experience 
beheld nature achieve triumphs of medical 
skill, which set science and all previous calcu- 
lations utterly at nought, but his conviction 
was, that in this case nature meant to let 
matters take their course. 

" She has been meddled with and thwarted,'^ 
he consMered ; ^' but for Doctor Girvan perhaps 
she might have had a chance, at all events we 
should have been left time in which to try our 
treatment. As matters are he is doomed. A 
few hours more and the master of Bay view will 
be wiser than the wisest man on earth. He 
will know more than any of us.- ' 

Which really might be considered an almost 
reluctant admission on the part of Mr. Hanlon's 
mind, not because his theology was defective, 
but because his self-conceit was so great, it 



Left All Alone, ir 

actually touched his vanity to think a man like 
Mr. Moffat would know more in the next world 
than he knew in this. 

'-^ I have done all I could in the matter, that 
is certain," he said as a finish to his reflec- 
tions; and Grace being in the sick-room, he 
went downstairs to join Drs. Murney and Con- 
nelley at breakfast. 

Let death be ever so active in one place, life 
will be equally active in another, and the fact 
that the master of the house could never again 
welcome a guest nor issue a command did not in 
the smallest degree affect the a^Dpetites of the 
men who had come so far to strive and save 
him. 

Doctor Girvan, indeed, saying it would 
choke him to ^^take bite or sup," had hurried 
home to secure a few hours' quiet before the 
business of the day began ; but the night air 
and the long drive and ride, and the sharp 
morning air which blew crisp and cold over 
Bayview, sharpened the relish with which 
the two strange doctors looked on the well- 
laden table that gladdened their eyes when 



The EarPs Promise, 



they entered the dining-room after their inter- 
view with Grace. 

As for Mr. Hanlon, he was young; he 
dined early ; he never supped ; he did not 
often treat himself to the luxury of sitting up 
all night — in a word, breakfast was still break- 
fast to him, let who could not help it die, let 
who would live. 

" A most capital cut of beef!" remarked Dr. 
Mumey, returning from the sideboard with his 
plate replenished for the third time ; " Con- 
nelley, let me persuade you." 

" Eemember I am not a sea-bird like you, 
and fish fresh out of the water is a treat to 
me. Ah! poor Moffat, how particular he 
used to be about the fish that came to his 
table ! " 

And the speaker shook his head and helped 
himself to another slice of broiled salmon. 

" That was a sad mistake of Girvan's !" said 
Dr. Murney, looking round the room, to make 
sure the respectable servant who had been told 
they '^ would see to themselves " was nowhere 
within earshot. 



Left All Alone, 13 

^^ Never kept himself up with the times/' 
explained Dr. Connelley. 

^'But, gentlemen," interrupted Mr. Hanlon, 
*' if nature is always changing her diseases 
with the times, how is a doctor to keep himself 
posted up with regard to her latest ailment ?" 

" Nature does not change. Her diseases 
may be modified or extended by circum- 
stances," said Dr. Mumey, ^^ but her laws are 
immutable. Science, however, finds out that 
diseases once classed under the same head may 
be separated ; may be — must be ; and a me- 
dical man ought to keep himself abreast of 
science. For instance, no doubt hundreds and 
thousands of persons suffering like Mr. Moffat 
have been treated up to quite recent times for 
apoplexy, and died under that treatment." 

" Pleasant !" ejaculated Mr. Hanlon. 

^' Inevitable," said Dr. Connelley, with phi- 
losophical composure. And after all he was 
right ; the knowledge of those days would be 
deemed ignorance now. 

'' I will drive over to-morrow," remarked 
Dr. Murney, who, having finished his break- 



14 The EarPs Promise, 



fast, was drawing on his gloves preparatory to 
that return journey which was to be made 
once again in Mr. Moffat's tax-cart, with 
one of Mr. Moffat's horses. ^^ Although in- 
deed — " the pause was as significant as the 
words. 

^' And I will come too, if I can," added Dr. 
Connelley ; '-'' but I am afraid — " once again 
an ellipsis, which Mr. Hanlon filled up at his 
discretion. 

'-^ I suppose you will watch the case ? " sug- 
gested Dr. Murney. 

^^ "With Girvan ? yes. He and I had a quarrel 
last night, but I will not desert the poor old 
fellow now." 

'^ Ah, well, you need not fear having to wait 
long for the end," observed Dr. Connelley. 
^* It is a question of hours. He may be alive 
when we come to-morrow — but I think myself 
he cannot last out the day." 

^'He will go with the first or second ebb 
tide, I should say," corrected Dr. Murney; 
^' most likely the second. Certainly I should 
say not the third." 



Left All Alone. 15 



There was one question Mr. Hanlon wanted 
to ask before they left. 

"No doubt,'' he began, "Miss Moffat will 
wish to send for the rector ; if she does, what 
am I to say ? " 

Dr. Murney took a pinch of snuff and 
looked at Dr. Connelley. Dr. Connelley looked 
out of the window and made no sign. 

" I think," answered the former imeasily, 
I should let her send for the rector, and explain 
the position to him." 

" Precisely. But what is the position ? He 
will never be conscious again." 

" In this world," amended Dr. Connelley. 

"In this world," repeated Dr. Murney, 
taking off his hat as if he were in a church. 

There was a moment's respectful silence. 
Then said Dr. Miu-ney, as if he conceived 
affairs which strictly speaking belonged to 
the clergy had been encroached upon by 
him, — 

"Of course, Mr. Hanlon, had Dr. Connelley 
and I considered there was the remotest chance 
of a restoration to consciousness, we should at 



1 6 The EarPs Pro7nise. 



once have advised Miss Moffat to send for her 
father's attorney." 

"With which utterance Dr. Murney took his 
leave. 

''So it is," thought Mr. Hanlon, after he 
had seen Dr. Connelley mounted and answered 
his farewell wave of the hand ; '' So it is ; the 
law first — God after. " 

Till the great assize is over, who may tell how 
these apparent incongruities shall be settled; 
how the toil and trouble a man often entails on 
those who are to come after is quite compatible 
with a quiet death-bed and the rules of eternal 
justice ! 

To me it has always seemed that the person 
who, having time and inclination to make his 
peace with Heaven, as the not inappropriate 
phrase has it, makes that peace, and leaves 
mundane affairs to conduct themselves, must 
have failed in his worldly trust, must have 
neglected to put out at interest some of those 
talents with which he was entrusted. 

In my poor opinion the doctors were right, 
and Mr. Hanlon wrong. A man, to all 



Left All Alone. 17 



ordinary ways of thinking, ought not to be 
able to turn his eyes with a steady gaze 
heavenward so long as there is anything on 
earth demanding his attention, and yet it may 
be that when the supreme moment has arrived, 
and this world is vanishing, and another open- 
ing, it may be then, I say, that not merely do 
the most important projects of this life dwarf 
into insignificance, but that a glimpse is 
caught of that perfect faith which enables its 
possessor to leave the welfare of the nearest 
and dearest to him in higher hands than those 
of man. 

Upon no other supposition does it appear to 
me possible to account for the supine selfishness 
with which those who have worldly goods to 
leave sometimes fold their hands and remain 
tranquil, whilst five minutes devoted to tem- 
poral matters might save miseries and heart- 
burnings untold. 

Mr. Hanlon's speech, however, was prompted 
quite as much by the spirit of opposition as of 
religion. Had the other doctors suggested 
sending for a clergyman, he would most 

VOL. III. c 



1 8 Tht EarPs Promise. 

probably have mentally sneered at ^' old women 
who believed in the efficacy of a death-bed 
repentance." 

^^ Show me how a man lived, and I will tell 
you how he died," was one of his favourite 
quotations ; and yet now, when he came face to 
face with a death which allowed no instant of 
preparation, he could not help admitting — he 
was not the advanced Eepublican of these 
times, recollect — there must be something in 
the almost universal desire human beings feel 
to be permitted to linger, if only for a few 
minutes, on the shores of that mighty ocean 
which washes on the one side the fair land of 
life, and on the other the hidden mysteries of 
eternity. 

So far as Mr. Moffat's temporal affairs were 
concerned, he had left nothing to be settled in 
a hurry at the last hour of his existence. In 
the methodical, self-contained life he had led 
there was no sign to indicate the manner of 
death he should die. Probably he himself 
never imagined for a moment he should be 
called upon to leave this world except in the 
most orderly and usual manner. 



Left All Alone, 19 

^Nevertheless his affairs were in perfect 
order. All the attorneys and accountants 
in Ireland conld not have put them in more 
intelligible shape. 

Concerning other matters, who could tell? 
Himself and his Maker alone knew how far 
the peremptory summons found him ready to 
leave a world which had always heen a pleasant 
one to the owner of Bayview. 

The clergyman was sent for and came, but 
it all turned out as Dr. Murney had predicted. 

The tide ebbed, and the tide flowed ; when 
it ebbed again his soul set forth on a longer 
and more awful voyage than mortal mariner 
ever undertook. 

Little more than thirty hours had passed 
since Grrace walked slowly homeward from the 
Lone Eock, and yet the whole current and 
colour of her life was changed. The simbeams 
danced merrily on the waters, the sea rippled 
in once more upon the shore, the trees and 
shrubs shook out their green foliage, and the 
air was almost heavy with the rich perfumes 
of summer. In the distance the hills seemed 

c2 



20 The EarPs Promise. 

almost to melt into the soft blue of the sky. 
Everywhere there was beauty, and gladness, 
and sunshine, but Grace saw nothing of the 
beauty, felt nothing of the gladness. Over 
the house there brooded the shadow of mighty 
wings, for the angel of death had paused in his 
flight ; one whose voice had been so suddenly 
stilled lay silent within; he who had been 
master there might dwell in that pleasant abode 
— ^never more. 



21 



CHAPTER II. 

SAYING GOOD-BYE. 

The summer was gone and early autumn had 
come before Grace Moffat walked beyond the 
precincts of Bay view. Sorrow not sickness had 
kept her solitary. With the bitterness of her 
grief she could not endure friends or strangers 
to meddle, and so all alone she bore the first 
brunt of her trouble, all alone she formed her 
plans, rooted up the old projects and fanciful 
aims of her past life, and, spite of her former 
convictions on the subject of absenteeism, deter- 
mined to leave Ireland, if not for ever, at all 
events for a considerable period. 

In truth, without sacrificing her liberty she 
could not well have remained there. 



22 The EarPs Promise, 

Although in the eyes of Kingslough she was 
fast verging towards the sere and yellow leaf 
period of life, she was not old enough to set 
Mrs. Grundy at defiance and reside at Bayyiew 
without a duenna, and that was an encum- 
brance Grace had no desire to burden herself 
with. Further, she knew that every eligible 
man within reach would rush to offer her con- 
solation in the first instance, and his hand in 
the second ; and that mothers would outvie 
each other in offering to supply a father's place 
to so eligible a daughter-in-law as herself. 

She was of course a much more desirable 
investment in the matrimonial market than 
had been the case during her father's life- 
time. All he once possessed was hers now 
unreservedly ; and amongst men in search of 
rich wives, the increased value of Miss Moffat's 
hand might readily have been computed by a 
rule-of-three sum. 

All this Grace felt bitterly. Now when she 
wanted a friend as she had never wanted one 
before, she found herself surrounded by those 
who all, she suspected, held a second purpose 
concealed behind their kindly advances. 



Saying Good- bye, 12> 



Perhaps she wronged the impulses of many 
a warm heart by this idea, but money was an 
article truly needed at that time amongst the 
Irish gentry. Heiresses were scarce, encum- 
bered estates numerous. So to speak, the 
bulk of the old families were in a state of in- 
solvency, and driven to their wits' ends to 
avert the final catastrophe which the famine 
only precipitated, which it alone certainly 
never could have induced amongst an aristo- 
cracy already tottering to the verge of ruin. 

How were the heirs of impoverished estates 
covered with debt as with a garment to mend 
their position except by marriage ? 

Every profession was overstocked; they 
could not go into trade. Even had they pos- 
sessed the requisite ability necessary to carry 
on a business successfully, the prejudices of 
the country must have deterred them from 
attempting to mend matters by a move in that 
direction. 

A few went to India, where some succeeded 
and others died. Australia and the West 
Indies absorbed most of the adventurous or 



24 The EarPs Promise, 

speculative youth of the period. In Australia 
they led a not disagreeable life, spite of hard- 
ships they certainly never could have endured 
at home. In the West Indies success resolved 
itself into a game at hazard with death. If death 
won, why they died, and there was an end of 
it ; if they won, they won wealth as well. 

For the male gentry who remained at home 
on the ancestral acres, there were but two 
courses open. One to marry a girl without 
money, and so hasten the advent of ruin ; the 
other to marry a girl with money, and so defer 
to another generation that bankruptcy which 
it was impossible could be averted for ever. 

In such a state of society the woman herself 
counted for very little. Love matches were 
made, it is true, every day, and resulted in a 
good deal of domestic unhappiness, pinching, 
saving, meanness, and an infinite number of 
children ; but in those cases where love and 
prudence might have been supposed able to 
travel together, prudence turned love out of 
court, and no heiress, let her be as good and 
beautiful as she pleased, could make quite sure 



Saying Good-bye, 25 



whether it were she who was being wooed, or 
the comfortable thousands the care and affection 
of some exceptionally fortunate ancestor had 
saved for her benefit. 

Had she been deaf, humpbacked, lame, 
afflicted with a squint, eighty years of age, an 
heiress need not have despaired of attracting 
suitors. 

When sons were shy or indifferent, when 
they seemed inclined to balk, as a hunting 
gentleman described their reluctance to go 
wooing, mothers courted sometimes not un- 
successfully in their stead ; and had Grace been 
one of the blood royal, she could scarcely have 
had greater attention showered upon her than 
was the case once the funeral was over and 
the terms of her father's will known. 

But to visitors Grace sedulously denied 
herself; invitations she steadily refused to 
accept, with the exception of one which she 
took time to consider. 

It came from Mrs. Hartley, and was couched 
in these words : — 

" I have been thinking much about you and 



26 The EarPs Promise, 



your position, and putting my own selfish 
wishes on one side, really and truly believe 
the best thing you can do is to come to me for 
a time. If you stay where you are you will 
be driven to marry some one. The day must 
come when in utter weariness of saying 'No,' 
you will say ' Yes ; ' not because you care 
much for the suitor, or he is especially eligible, 
but because you feel one husband is preferable 
to a host of lovers. 

''"We shall not bore each other; you shall 
go your way, and I shall continue on mine. 

" We will travel if you like ; I shall not 
herald your arrival amongst my friends in the 
character of an heiress, be sure of that. I 
have no pet young man free of the house to 
whom I wish to see you married. Come and 
try the experiment, at all events. If you still 
preserve your Utopian ideas on the subject of 
Ireland's regeneration, it may be as well for 
you, before you begin the work, to see that 
the inhabitants of another country really 
manage to keep their doorsteps white — and 
their children's hair combed without the 



Saying Good-bye, 27 



intervention of philantliropists like yourself, 
or demagogues like Mr. Hanlon. By the way, 
I hope you are not getting entangled in that 
quarter. 

" No doubt the young man is clever, and 
behaved well at the time of your poor father's 
attack ; but still, these are no reasons why he 
should marry your father's daughter. 

^' It would not do J Grace. If by your 
marriage to such a man you were able to ensure 
a meat dinner every day to all the tenant 
farmers in Ireland, you would find even that 
desirable result dearly purchased at the cost of 
so unsuitable an alliance. I do you the justice 
to feel certain your heart is unaffected, but the 
circumstances have been propitious for touching 
your fancy ; and I know of old what a snare 
that lively imagination you possess is capable 
of proving. 

^' Talking of imagination, what has become 
of the handsome hero of your teens? What 
has he done ? What is he doing ? I see the 
young earl is dead ; and I understand that 
where the sapling fell it is to lie, as the means 



The EarVs Promise, 



of the family do not permit of a second grand 
funeral within so short a time. Opinions h^re 
are divided as to the chances of Mr. Eobert 
Somerford succeeding to the title. 

'^ Some persons say the new earl is privately 
married and has a family, others that he will 
marry, others that he is and has always been 
single, that he has one foot in the grave and 
will shortly have another in likewise. It is a 
case in which I should decline to advise if you 
asked my opinion. 

^^ If you marry Eobert Somerford he may be 
Earl of Glendare. If you wait till he is Earl 
of Glendare, you may never be Countess of 
Glendare. And indeed I shall not desire to 
see you raised to the peerage. I do not think 
greatness would sit easily upon your shoulders. 
I believe you would be far happier married to 
some honest, honourable man in our own rank 
of life than you could be amongst the nobility. 
But there is no honest, honourable young man 
in our own rank of life residing near here 
whose cause I wish to plead, so you will be 
quite safe in coming to me. Will you think 
the matter over and come ? " 



Saying Good-bye. 29 



Which letter Grace, after having thought 
the matter over, answered in these words : — 

*' I will go to you. Amongst all the people 
I know, there is no one I trust so fully, I 
believe in so implicitly as I do in you. I will 
let Bayview furnished. I will set my affairs 
in order, and leave the dear old place which 
has grown hateful to me — temporarily only, I 
hope — for I should like, when I have advanced 
sufficiently in age, to wear caps, and set the 
world's opinions at defiance, to return to 
Ireland, and spend my declining years and my 
income amongst mine ' ain folk.' 

^^"Were I a stronger-minded woman, I 
suppose I should be able to conquer my grief 
and defy public criticism by starting on what 
you would call a career of philanthropy ; but 
sorrow and the world, this little world of 
Kingslough, are, I confess, too much for me. 
As you say, I believe I should marry out of 
mere weariness of spirit. 

" My pensioners I shall leave to Mrs. Larkin, 
who will rejoice in seeing the poor crowd round 
her door like robins in the winter. 



30 The EarPs Promise, 

"If anything were capable of making me 
laugh now, I should laugh at your idea of 
there being the slightest tender feeling between 
me and Mr. Hanlon. It is because by some 
nameless instinct I comprehend he never could 
by any chance care for me that I have seen 
more of him since my irreparable loss than has 
been perhaps, situated as I am, quite wise. I 
do not mean that he has called here often, or 
that I have chanced to meet him more than 
two or three times in my solitary walks by the 
seashore ; but still you know what all small 
places are, what this small place is especially. 

^^Kingslough has talked, is talking — Kings- 
lough says my head is turned, and that I am 
bent jon flinging myself and my money away on 
a man who, some say — you remember Kings- 
lough was always remarkable for its vehemence 
of expression, ' should be drummed out of the 
town ' — and others think worthy of being — do 
not faint at the phrase, it is not mine — ^ strung 
up.' 

"I have told you that I am positive Mr. 
Hanlon has no intention, even for the weal of 



Saying Good-dye, 31 

the nation, of ever asking me to marry Mm ; 
and yet I have an uneasy conviction he has 
some purpose to serve in cultivating better 
relations between us, which purpose I cannot 
at present divine. Moreover, I fear he has not 
given so direct a denial to those rumours which 
have bracketed his name and mine in such an 
undesirable connection as I think, were I a 
man, I should have done under similiar circum- 
stances. Kingslough says positively I have 
lost my heart and my senses — of the state of 
both you will be able to judge when we meet. 
''Mr. Eobert Somerford has at length given 
me the opportunity of refusing the honoui* of 
allying my self to the house of Glendare. I am 
glad of this, for I should scarcely have liked 
to leave Bayview whilafb a chance remained of 
his doing so. He is handsomer than ever — 
years only improve his appearance ; but were 
he beautiful as Adonis he could never be my 
hero more. 

'' He was first sentimental and sympathetic, 
next pressing in his entreaties, and sceptical 
as to the genuineness of my ' No.' Lastly ha 



32 The EarP s Promise. 

was insolent and made as much of himself and 
his position as though he had been nursed in 
the lap of royalty, and lived all his life on 
terms of equality with kings and queens. 
Familiarity may in my case have bred con- 
tempt, but I certainly never in the days when 
I admired him most considered he was so 
much my superior as appears is the case. 

" I was equal, however, to the emergency ; 
my desolate position, and my heavy mourning, 
the sorrow I have passed through, all combine 
to give me a courage I lacked in former times. 

^' "Whilst he was still exalting himself and 
depreciating me — ^reciting the glories of the 
Glendares and contrasting the rank to which he 
could have raised me with the level of obscurity 
in which my refusal doomed me to remain for 
life, maundering on as one might have thought 
only an angry ill-bred woman or a spoiled 
child could have maundered — I rose and rang 
the bell. 

'' ^ Perhaps you will go now, Mr. Somerford,' 
I said, ruthlessly cutting across a sentence in 
which he was drawing a picture of my future 



Saying Good-bye, 33 

life when married to a poor apothecary who had 
not even the recommendation of being possessed 
of all his senses. '- Perhaps you will go now, 
and spare j^oui'self the vexation of being asked 
to leave before a servant.' 

^' I never saw a man so taken by surprise. 
He got up, made me a low, mocking bow, and 
quitted the room without uttering another word. 

'-' Next time he asks any one to marry him, 
he says, he will take care the lady is in his 
own rank of life. 

'' He had been gradually provoking me, so 
at that point I broke silence and suggested the 
advisability of his ascertaining at the same 
time whether her worldly means were as ex- 
cellent as his own. 

" You will blame me for this, of course ; but 
if I had bitten back the words they would have 
choked me. 

" There was a time when I coidd have 
married him, and probably repented doing so 
every hour of my after life. I told him this, 
and he pressed me much to say when my 
feelings underwent so great a change. 

VOL. III. D 



34 The EarPs Promise, 

" ^ On that day,' I answered, ^ when you 
forced me to remark, — "We had made you wel- 
come at Bayview, and we now make you wel- 
come to stay away.' 

^^ It is only women with money, I fancy, who 
have to endure impertinence at the hands of 
their suitors. I suppose the fact is a feeling 
of tenderness for the beloyed one mingles even 
with the bitterness of losing her; but the 
wildest fancy cannot suppose any feeling of 
tenderness towards a fortune that a man sees 
plainly can never be possessed by him. 

^^ Every obstacle to my accepting your invi- 
tation is now removed. 

^' Our servants seem determined to cele- 
brate the event of their master's death with a 
series of weddings. He left them each a sum 
of money which, though it would appear little 
to English people of the same rank, is 
w^ealth to them, and a number of alliances 
have been arranged on the strength of these 
legacies which would have amused you had 
you seen the match-making in progress. 

" On the w^hole, I am inclined to think that 



Sayi}ig Good- dye, 2>S 



even in Ireland the possession of a nest egg 
produces the same effect npon human beings as 
it does upon a hen. A desire to lay another 
beside it becomes at once irresistible. After 
that remark you will not be surprised to hear 
the marriages in this establishment are chiefly 
remarkable for prudence. Jane, the dairy- 
maid, is going to invest her money in cows, 
and a husband who OAvns a small cottage, the 
right of grazing over a large tract of common 
land, and a cabbage-garden, in which he pro- 
poses to erect byres. The cook, whom you 
may perhaps remember for the excellence of 
her omelets and the warmth of her temper, 
clubs her legacy with that of the coachman, 
and they intend to take a public-house five 
miles down the coast, and add posting to the 
business. I will not weary you with further 
matrimonial details. 

^' The youngest and prettiest of the establish- 
ment, my own little maid, takes her money, 
supplemented by a gift from me, back to her 
sickly mother. 

^' 'I shall be able to stay with her always 

D 2 



36 The EarPs Promise. 

now, Miss Grace,' she said, crying and laughing 
in the same breath. ^ I know enough, thanks 
be to you, to teach a little school, and we'll be 
happy as the day is long.' 

" I have spoken to no one concerning my 
own plans ; though of course every one knows 
I am going to leave Bayview, no person 
suspects that I intend to visit England. 

" It has indeed been stated that I mean to 
spend the winter abroad with Lady Glendare. 
Her ladyship sent me a very civil note, 
favoured by Mrs. Dillwyn, saying how grieved 
she was to hear of my bereavement, speaking 
of her own loss, and adding that, if I thought 
a thorough change would prove beneficial to 
my health and spirits, she would be delighted 
if I would visit her. 

^' Which was very kind, particularly from a 
member of a family famous for the shortness of 
their memories of favours received. 

*^ This, I conclude, gave rise to the first re- 
port, which has now, however, been superseded 
by another. I am going to stay with Mr. 
Hanlon's mother, who is to come so far as 
D ublin to meet me ! 



Saying Good-bye, 37 

^^ I mean to-day to bid good-bye to tbe 
Scotts ; to-moiTOW, the next day, and the next, 
I shall employ in paying farewell visits and 
in gratifying the curiosity of my friends. Can 
you not fancy the entreaties with which I shall 
be assailed to stay in my own country and 
amongst my own people ? My father's solicitor 
is delighted with the proposal that he and his 
family shall occupy Bayview for the autumn. 
He will endeavour to let it from November next. 

" I shall break my journey at Dublin, from 
which place I will write to you again ; but 
under any circumstances I hope to be talking 
to you face to face within a fortnight from the 
present time." 

And having sealed and despatched tliis letter, 
Grace, as has been stated, for the first time 
since her father's death left behind her the 
grounds of Bayview, and wended her way 
towards the Castle Farm. 

With a feeling of sick surprise she paused 
when she reached the top of the divisional road 
and looked at the fields to right and left. The 
meadows were still uncut ; acres of long rich 



^S TJic EarTs Promise. 

grass had been laid by tbe rain, trampled by 
the cattle. The potato blossoms had flowered 
and faded ; the potato apples were beginning 
to turn brown on the stems, but not a spade 
had been put in to dig the roots out of the 
ground. 

In the other lands lying around she saw 
hayricks; she beheld men busy at work ; she 
heard the voices of the women and children 
who were almost playing at their labour, so 
rejoiced were all hearts to find the heavy crop 
the upturned earth disclosed ; but at the Castle 
Farm there was no sign of toil or of gladness. 

There was a dead stillness about the place 
which told Grace the beginning of the end had 
begun. Spite of the rich grass thick with 
clover, spite of the wealth lying bmied in the 
broad ridges of the j)otato fields, spite of the 
luxuriance of the ripening corn, she knew ruin 
was sitting by the once hospitable hearth, 
stealthily biding its time till it should turn 
husband and wife and children out of house 
and home upon the world. 

No active si2:ns of mef — no outbreak of 



Saying Good-bye. 39 



sorrow could have affected Grace like the 
dumb testimony which gave evidence of the 
crisis that had come. 

When before, in hay-time, had Amos and 
his boys and his men not been up at the first 
streak of light, in order to get well on with 
their labour before the sun gaining power — 
and the dews diying off the grass — made mow- 
ing weary work ? 

When had the potatoes ever lain in the 
ground as they were lying now ? when had 
not all needful tasks been expedited and got 
well out of hand before the time came for the 
ingathering of the com ? 

Miss Moffat's eyes filled with tears as she 
looked at the deserted fields that had borne 
their increase only to point more forcibly the 
ruin which was come to the Castle Farm. 

If she had seen a sale going on in the 
place ; had she beheld a crowd of strangers in 
the yard, and heard a babel of tongues in the 
air ; had the horses and the cows and the busy 
fussing hens, and the fat well-to-do pigs been 
taken away while she looked, the scene could 



40 The EarPs Promise, 

scarcely have struck her with the numb dread 
that for a time paralysed her steps. 

Then it all came upon her. They had 
sown, but they might not reap ; they had 
planted, but they might not gather ; on the 
land they had held so long they were tres- 
passers, and if they still remained in the old 
homestead it was only because there is 
nothing more difficult than to get rid of people 
who have determined to remain. 

Amos Scott had so determined ; but the law 
was closing him in slowly, surely. 

It was eating his substance first ; while he 
had a pound in the traditional stocking, or 
the ability to borrow a pound — while he 
had a shoe to his foot and a shirt to his back, 
it refrained from cutting short his torture, but 
once let the cruise fail, and the law would 
scourge him with scorpions out of that once 
happy garden which never again might seem 
like paradise to Amos or one of his family. 

Out of the sunlight Grace passed into the 
house, where, by reason of the glare from 
which she had come, she could at fii*st scarcely 



Saying Good-bye. 4^ 

distinguish any object; but after a second or 
two she beheld Mrs. Scott, aged and haggard, 
who, in her hands holding a coat of her hus- 
band's she had been engaged in patching, rose 
and bade her visitor welcome. 

She was quite alone; a rare thing in that 
populous house. Inside as out the same still- 
ness prevailed, a stillness like unto the Egyp- 
tian darkness, inasmuch as it could be felt. 

The first words uttered were by Mrs. Scott, 
in sympathy for Miss Moffat's afiliction ; but 
Grace, though her burden seemed heavy, knew 
the dead had no need of help or remembrance, 
and here face to face with her was at least 
one human being who had. 

^^Tell me about yourselves," she said, 
passing her handkerchief across the large soft 
eyes that would encom^age tears to shelter 
themselves under the white lids and long 
lashes. ^' We cannot do anything more for him. 
It was a great shock. I sometimes seem as if 
I were unable to realize it even yet ; but it is 
true, and I must learn to bear the greatest 
trouble God sends one of his creatm-es." 



42 TJie EarPs Pro7nise, 



" The greatest, Miss ? " said Mrs. Scott in- 
quiringly ; she was sympathetic and respectful, 
but she could not quite fall in with this opinion. 

She had her trouble, and if she heard that 
the trouble of another might be greater, who 
shall blame her for being slow of belief. 

There cannot be much doubt that the man 
who has broken his leg feels sceptical when 
told that his next neighbour who has broken 
his ankle is in worse case than he. As a mat- 
ter of theory, people may sympathize with the 
griefs of their fellow-creatures, but as a matter 
of fact the only sorrows which are ever tho- 
roughly understood are those a man has him- 
self to bear ; and this is reasonable enough, re- 
membering that after the lapse of even a short 
time, a man finds it difficult to recall vividly 
the anguish and the shame and the agony he 
may once have been obliged to pass through. 

Mrs. Scott's pain was very present with her, 
however, on that beatiful morning. She was 
in the midst of a trouble which might well 
have exhausted a more patient woman. She 
had to sit still and see her hoiisehold gods 



Saying Good-bye, 43 

broken one by one ; she was forced, as she said 
herself, to "bide quiet" whilst ruin stalked 
towards their home, drawing nearer every 
hour. Death to her seemed naturally a less 
trial than this lengthened torture, and she 
could not agree with her visitor when Miss 
Moffat answered, — 

"The greatest because it is hopeless." 

"Not making light of your trouble, Miss 
Grace, don't you think it may be just as hope- 
less a grief as death to feel yourself coming to 
want and your children to beggary ? " 

"If there were no way to avert such mis- 
fortunes, perhaps not," was the reply ; "but it 
is because we cannot avert death, because we 
can never hope in this world to see those 
who are gone, that I say death is so terrible a 
grief." 

" It is terrible," Mrs. Scott agreed ; " but I 
don't feel as if it was as hard a sorrow as to 
see everything going, and not be able to put 
out a finger to save us from ruin. There arc the 
potatoes undug in the ground, and I dui^n't 
take up a root of them to boil for the dinner. 



44 The EarPs Prouiise. 

"We have had to sell the cows, for we were 
'^ threatened " if we tried to graze them. The 
boys have nothing to do, and the meadows are 
all laid ; but they warned Amos off when he 
went to mow. They poisoned onr dog because 
he flew at one of the bailiffs Brady sent ; and 
they tell me now Brady is going to get the 
grass in, and the potatoes up, and the corn cut 
when it ripens, if he has to bring a regiment 
of soldiers to protect his men." 

At the idea of which imposing array Mrs. 
Scott dropped her work on her knee, heaved a 
deep sigh, and remarked, — 

" God alone knows what the end will be ! " 

^^ I will tell you what the end ought to 
be," said Grace kindly. ^^ You ought to begin 
to pack up your belongings now, and leave the 
Castle Farm as soon as ever you can get out 
of it." 

"Amos '11 never leave it alive," she an- 
swered. " He is not a hard man to talk to in 
a general way, but Brady has tried to head 
him, and it has made him that dour, there is 
no reasoning with him." 



Saying Good-bye. 45 



'' Have you ever really tried to reason 
with him ? " Miss Moffat inquired. 

'^ Not at firsts I'll own it. I was as keen on 
as himself for fighting to the last ; but, oh ! 
Miss Gtace, when the trouble comes inside the 
door, it is the woman feels it. She must hold 
up and have a bite for the men folks to eat 
if her heart is just breaking ; and I'm fairly 
tired of it. I feel I'd be that glad to creep into 
any hole where we could be quiet, I couldn't 
tell you." 

'' Where is Amos? " asked her visitor, after a 
pause. 

^^ Gone to Glenwellan to see the lawyer ; 
now we have sold Tom he has to walk there 
and back every step of the way. He is spend- 
ing his all in law, Miss Grace. Shure the 
very money I got for the hens and the ducks 
and the other cratures he made me give him, 
and me saving it for the time when we'll want 
it sorely." 

^' What does Amos hope to do ? " inquii*ed 
Grace. " Wliat does he expect the lawyers 
can do for him ? " 



46 The JEarVs Promise. 



'^ That's beyond me to tell. He wants his 
rights, and he says he'll have them." 

^^Wliat are his rights?" 

^'Oh, that's easy telling; this place he i3aid 
the renewal of." 

^' I am going away, — " began Grace, with 
apparent irrelevance. 

''So I heard tell," interpolated Mrs. Scott. 

'' And before I go I want to put this matter 
before you clearly, as I see it ; as others, wiser 
and more capable than I, see it also." 

'' Yes, Miss," said Mrs. Scott in a tone 
which implied that Grace might talk and she 
herself might listen, but that her opinions 
would remain the same. 

And indeed is this not always the case ? Is 
it not always when talking and listening are 
signally useless that opinions alter ? 

''Supposing," said Grace, a little fluttered 
by reason of her own boldness, " I went to 
Dublin and said I must have a new piano." 

" Likely you will some day," agreed Mrs. 
Scott, as her visitor paused for a moment and 
hesitated. 



Saying Good-bye, 47 



^^And suppose for the sake of argument," 
went on Grace, " I decided to spend a hun- 
dred pounds." 

'^ It would be a heap of money," commented 
her auditor. 

'^Or fifty, or twenty," said Miss Moffat, 
seeing her mistake ; ^^ say twenty pounds ; and 
that I chose a piano and tokl the man where 
to send it, and paid him the money and took 
no receipt for ^ it. After I leave, another 
person sees the same piano, likes it, pays the 
money, and gets a receipt. Shortly I begin 
to wonder why the instrument is not sent 
home, and I write to the seller. I receive an 
answer saying he is dead, and that no one 
knows anything about the matter except that 
the piano I mention has been sold and de- 
livered to Mr. So-and-so. Now such a case 
would be undoubtedly a hard one for me, but 
I should never think of throwing good money 
after bad in trying to put spilt milk back into 
a basin ; and yet this is what Amos persists in 
attempting. Do you understan d what I mean ? ' ' 

^' You speak very clever, Miss Grace,'' was 
the reply. 



48 The EarPs Pjvmise, 

^' I am afraid I do not speak at all cleverly," 
said her visitor. ^^ I wish, any words of mine 
could persuade Amos and you how utterly use- 
less it is for you to continue the resistance he 
has hegun." 

^' Would you have him give up everything, 
then, Miss, and see us turned out on the world 
— we who have always tried^Jfeo keep decent 
and respectable as you know. Miss Grace ? " 

^^I do know," was the answer, ^^but I see 
no help for it — if a thing has to be done at 
last, it may as well and better be done at 
first." 

'' I am thinking Amos will fight it to the 
end," said Mrs. Scott calmly, 

'^ But what folly it is ! " exclaimed Miss 
Mofi'at. 

'' Like enough ; I wouldn't be so ill bred as 
to contradict you. Miss, even if I could." 

'' But it is impossible you can be happy or 
comfortable living in this sort of way." 

'' Happy, comfortable," repeated the poor 
woman, then added with sudden vehemence, 
" And who is it that has made us unhappy and 



Saying Good-bye, 49 

uncomfortable, but that villain Brady ? It'll 
come home to him though ; sure as sure, Miss 
Grace, it will. We may not live to see it, but 
the day will come that others will mind what 
Brady done to us and say, ^ Serve him right,' 
no matter what trouble is laid upon him." 

^^ But you do not wish any harm to happen 
to him ? " suggested Grace, who, having no 
personal feud with Mr. Brady, naturally felt 
shocked at Mrs. Scott's bitterness of expression. 

^^ Don't I?" retorted the woman, '^t 
would be blessed news if one came in now and 
said, ^ Brady is lying stiff and stark out in tJi - 
j&eld yonder.' " 

'^ Hush, hush, hush ! " entreated Grace, 
laying her hand on the lean unlovely arm 
which had once been plump and comely. 
^' Oh ! I wish I could talk to you as I want to 
talk. I wish I could say good things as other 
people are able. I wish I could persuade you 
to bear your heavy burden patiently, feeling 
certain God in His own good time will lighten 
it for you. I cannot thinlv there is any 
reality in religion if it docs not support us in 

VOL. III. E 



50 The EarPs Promise. 

trials like these, and you are a religious woman^ 
dear Mrs. Scott. I remember, as if it was 
yesterday, the Bible stories you used to tell 
me when I was a bit of a thing wearing 
mourning for the first time." 

Mrs. Scott's face began to work, then her 
eyes filled with tears, then one slowly trickled 
down her cheek, which she wiped away with 
the corner of her checked apron, then with a 
catching sob, she said, — 

'-'- Ay, those were brave days. Miss Grace, 
brave, heart some days. It was easy to feel 
good and Christian-like then, and wish well to 
everybody ; but I can't do it now, I cannot. 
When I'm sitting here all alone, texts come 
into my head ; but they are all what I used to 
call bad ones, about vengeance, and hatred, 
and punishment. There are no others I can 
mind now. That Ifcief of the world has 
destroyed us body and soul, but it Avill come 
to him. He will get his deserts yet." 

Grace rose, and walked into an inner room, 
where, on the top of a chest of drawers, bright 
as beeswax could keep them, lay the family 



Saying Good-bye. 51 

Bible, with Scott's spectacles, heirlooms like 
the book, reposing upon it. 

Lifting the Bible she carried it out, placed 
it npon the dresser, and, turning to the Gospels, 
read the last six verses of the fifth chapter of 
St. Matthew softly and slowly. Then she 
closed the yolume and took it back again. 

'^ It's well for them that can do all that," 
said Mrs. Scott, not defiantly, but in simple 
good faith. 

'^ Some day we shall all be able to feel it, 
and do it, please God," answered Grace, and, 
stooping over the back of Mrs. Scott's chair, she 
kissed the face of the humble friend who had 
once been like a mother to her. 

^' Good-bye,'' she said. ^^ Let Eeuben write 
to me, and get Amos away from here, if you 
can, before worse comes of it." 

'^What is this. Miss Grace?" asked Mrs. 
Scott, as her visitor laid a small packet in her 
lap. 

^'It is what you will need," said Grace, 
" when perhaps I am not near at hand to come 
to for it." 

E 2 



jjj^^lT* OF ILUNOiS 



52 The EarPs Promise. 

^' Is it money ? " inquired the woman. 

"Yes; surely you do not mind taking it 
from me ? " 

" No, I wouldn't mind. There aren't many 
I could ask to help us, or that I could take 
help from ; but I am not that high in my turn 
I'd refuse it from you. Take it with you 
though. Miss Grace. Don't leave it here. I 
could not keep it secret from the good man — 
we have never had anything separate, and he'd 
either be angry with me for taking it, or else 
he'd want it to spend on the law." 

" In that case I will not leave it," said 
Grace emphatically ; " only remember this one 
thing, — whilst I am alive and have a pound, 
you need never want. Bid me good-bye now, 
for I must go." 

" Good-bye," answered Mrs. Scott, taking 
Grace's hand in her own, after carefully wiping 
the latter on her apron; " God send you safe 
to England and back again ! " and with tliis 
customary form of farewell, which, familiar as 
it is to those resident in Ireland, always strikes 
solemnly on the ear, Mrs. Scott suffered her 



Saying Good-bye-. 53 

visitor to depart, watching her retreating 
figure till it was lost to sight, and then return- 
ing to her seat and her occupation. 

" And back again ! " Grace repeated to 
herself, as she looked over the glory of land 
and water — hill and wood lying calm and 
beautiful under a flood of golden sunshine. 
''And back again ! what will have happened, 
I wonder, by the time I return ? " 



54 



CHAPTER III, 



BEEAXING THE ICE. 



Were I to say that at first Miss Moffat neither 
admired tlie country nor liked the people of 
England, I should only be expressing the sen- 
timents of an entire nation in the person of a 
single individual ; other people may have met 
with Irish men and Irish women who took 
kindly to Saxon soil on the first intention, but 
for my own part I have still to see the re- 
cently imported Celt willmg to admit there can 
be any good thing found in the land. 

It is very ciuious to consider how rapidly 
educated English tourists take to Ireland --to 
the inhabitants, the brogue, the scenery, the 



Breaking the Ice, ^>, 



whisky — and then to contrast with this the 
length of time required to acclimatize an Irish 
person of any rank to England and English 
ways. Safely, I think, it may be asserted 
that there is nothing on this side the channel, 
from the red-tiled roofs of picturesque old 
barns to the glories of the Eow, which finds 
favour in Hibernian eyes. They may like 
England at last — many do — but they never 
like it at first. 

To this rule Grace formed no exception. 
There was nothing she liked in the foreign 
land to which she had voluntarily exiled her- 
self. Amongst her own country people, she 
even fancied Mrs. Hartley had changed, and 
changed for the worse, from the decided, in- 
cisive widow, whose tongue had been the 
terror and whose dress had been the envy of 
feminine Kingslough. 

She was more conventional and less amusing, 
the young lady considered ; but Mrs. Hartley's 
latest surroundings presented no temptations 
to unconventionality, and it would have been 
extremely difiicult to prove herself clever at 



56 The EarPs Promise, 



the expense of the eminently dull and de- 
corous people amongst whom her lot was now 
cast. 

The style in which her friend lived was also 
at first a trial to Grace. 

The extreme simplicity of her own bringing 
up — the modesty of the Bayview establishment 
— the unpretending fashion of receiving and 
visiting that at one time obtained in Ireland 
rendered the rules and ceremonies of — to quote 
Mrs. Hartley — ^^ a more advanced civilization" 
irksome in the extreme to a person who had 
from her childhood upwards been accustomed 
to an exceptional freedom of action; whilst 
after the inoffensive familiarity of Irish ser- 
vants, the formality and decorum of Mrs. 
Hartley's highly- trained domestics seemed cold 
and heartless. 

In a word, Miss Grace was more than 
slightly home-sick ; in all probability, had she 
possessed a home to go back to, she would have 
received some early communication compelling 
her to return to Ireland. 

All of this, or at least much of this, so 



Breaking ike Ice. 57 



shrewd a woman as Mrs. Hartley could not 
fail to notice ; she had expected the desire to 
manifest itself, though not exactly so violently, 
and she was accordingly quite prepared to let 
it run its course without much interference 
from her. 

It was not in her nature, however, to re- 
frain altogether from a little raillery on the 
subject. 

^^The cakes and the ales of this gorman- 
dizing land will find favour in your eyes some 
day, Grace," she remarked. ''I do not de- 
spair of hearing you confess other forms 
of diet may be as appetizing as milk and po- 
tatoes.'' 

" I can fancy many things more appetizing 
than potatoes as boiled in England," Miss 
Moffat would retort, not without some slight 
sign of irritation. Her temper was not quite 
so sweet, Mrs. Hartley noticed, as had been 
the case formerly. 

^^ She will not make an amiable old maid," 
considered her friend. "As she gets on in 
life her wine will turn to vinegar ; she is the 



58 The EarVs Projnise. 

kind of woman who ought to have a husband 
and half-a-dozen children, to prevent her grow- 
ing morbid and disagreeable — like all other 
philanthropists, she has had some serious dis- 
appointments, and I must say they have not 
improved her. She ought to marry ; but, like 
her, I confess I cannot imagine who the happy 
man is to be. Eeauty, wealth, amiability ! she 
has the three gifts men value most, and yet it 
seems to me that not a man suitable in any 
solitary respect has ever yet asked her to be his 
wife — except John Eiley. I wonder what he 
would think of her now ? Who could have 
imagined she would ever have developed into 
so lovely a creature ? " 

There were two things by which Mrs. 
Hartley set great store — competence and 
beauty. 

Poor people and ugly people were to her as 
repellent as many diseases. Genteel poverty 
was one of her abhorrences, plain faces 
another ; and it may therefore be imagined 
that when she found two most desirable ad- 
vantages combined in one human being, she 



Breaking the Ice. 59 



gave way to exultation so perfectly frauk tliat 
it struck Grace with amazement. 

'^ What a beautiful creature you are ! " she 
said as, Grace seated beside her in the car- 
riage, they drove along the level English roads 
to Mrs. Hartley's house. 

'^ I am not very beautiful now, I am 
afraid," answered Miss Moffat; ^' tired, bui-nt 
up with the sun and the wind, and smothered 
with dust, I feel utterly ashamed of my ap- 
pearance." 

" Ah ! well you need not be, my dear. I 
always thought you would grow up very 
pretty, but certainly I never expected to see 
you so pretty as you are. What do the 
Kingslough oracles think of Gracie Moffat 
now?" 

''' The Kingslough oracles disapprove of my 
being personally presentable," Grace answered. 
^^ They likewise think it a pity that, if I were 
designed to be good-looking, good looks were 
not conferred upon me in my youth. Further, 
they consider that as I have plenty of money, 
I ought to be plain ; and, besides all this, they 



6o The EarPs Promise. 

think I am not so particularly good-looking 
after all." 

" The dear Kingslough ! It is like a dream 
of old times to hear its opinions summed up so 
concisely." 

^' I wonder what Kingslough would think 
of your present state of magnificence," said 
Grace, a little mischievously. ''If you were 
to drive through Kingslough in this carriage, 
you would have the whole town out, and fur- 
nish conversation for a month." 

Mrs. Hartley laughed, but her mirth was a 
little forced ; she did not like her splendoiur 
dimmed by the breath of ridicule, but she was 
too much a woman of the world to show her 
annoyance. 

'' When we are in Turkey we do as the 
Turkeys do, to borrow a phrase from one of 
your own countrymen," she answered. ''If 
any adverse wind stranded me to-morrow in 
Ireland, I should at once pui'chase a jaunting- 
car and advertise for a Protestant without in- 
cumbrance, able to diive and wait at table." 

Miss Moffat remembered that when the 



Breakinor the Ice, 6i 

o 



speaker was stranded in Kingsloiigh she dis- 
pensed even with the jaunting-car ; but Mrs. 
Hartley had so neatly hit off the popular 
method of proceeding, that Grace, tired as she 
was, and feeling rather lonely and miserable, 
thought that silence might be wisdom, and 
refrained from reminding her friend of the 
dreary drives they had taken in that particular 
style of conveyance which the young ladj- 
detested. 

^'Besides," went on Mrs. Hartley, as though 
guessing at her companion's thoughts. " I am 
now a much richer woman than I was in those 
days. Money has come to me as it generally 
does to people who have it. Gold has a way 
of attracting gold which is certainly very re- 
markable. I used to think my income was as 
large as I should care to have it, but since 
more has been added I find T can manage to 
spend it very comfortably." 

This scrap of conversation may be taken as 
samples of many which followed. Mrs. Hart- 
ley and her guest talked, walked, drove, paid 
visits together, but they did not at once fall 



62 The Ea^d'^s Projnise. 

into the old familiar relations that had formerly- 
been so pleasant. 

In effect both were different persons from 
the young heiress and the rich English widow 
of Grace's genial spring-time ; and even if 
they had not so change d, it is a difficult 
matter to take up, after years of separation, the 
thread of a friendship at the precise point 
where it was dropped, and go on weaving the 
many-coloured web of intimate association as 
though nothing had occurred to stop its pro- 
gress. 

Besides this, that which Grace styled ^' Mrs. 
Hartley's magnificence " was not a thing this 
country-bred maiden could accustom herself to 
in a moment. 

Hers was a model property; small, it is 
true, but maintained as Grace had never seen 
any place maintained before, unless indeed it 
might be a botanical garden. Not half so 
large as Bay view, a very doll's house and toy 
grounds in comparison with those of "Wood- 
brook ! but the order which kept the lawns 
trimmed, the hedges clipped, the walks rolled. 



Breaking the Ice, 6-^ 

the house from garret to cellar a marvel of 
comfort and luxury, was enough to make a 
thoughtful and devoted Irishwoman like Grace 
ask herself a few very awkward questions, and 
make her feel for the moment angry because 
she could not avoid a sensation of shame at the 
contrast suggested. 

^^ I wish I could ever hope to be so ad- 
mirable a manager in all respects as you are, 
Mrs. Hartley," said Grace one day, after she 
had heard that lady issue some rather peremp- 
tory commands to her head gardener. 

" One cannot be a handsome young thing 
like you and a sharp old busybody like my- 
self," replied Mrs. Hartley, not displeased, 
however, at the compliment; ^^ and then re- 
member I was born and brought up in a 
country where order is Heaven's first law ; in 
a land where it is the fashion to keep the 
doorsteps white, it is natui'al that one should 
like to see one's own steps presentable. There 
is a great deal in habit. Although in the 
abstract no doubt you admire English order 
and cleanliness, still I have no doubt but that 



64 The EarVs Promise, 

in your heart of hearts you think we are fussy 
and over-particular. 

Miss Moifat laughed and coloured. 

^^ To be quite frank," she replied, '^I like 
the result produced, but I do not like the 
means by which it is produced. Perpetual 
hearthstoning and rolling, and mowing and 
cutting and clipping produce marvellous 
effects, I confess ; but still I think the con- 
stant recurrence of such days of small things 
must tend to dwarf the intellect and make life 
seem a very poor affair." 

" Irish, my dear, very ; but these are 
opinions about which there is no use arguing. 
I should have considered begging in a town 
where I knew every man, woman, and child, 
and where every man, woman, and child knew 
me, a somewhat monotonous occupation ; and 
I fail to see anything calculated to enlarge the 
intellect in the acts of planting potatoes all 
day and eating them for breakfast, dinner, and 
supper. Still there is a certain amount of 
truth in what you say, or rather imply. The 
English are not an imaginative people, and 



Breaking the Ice, 65 

they do not consider it necessary to idealize 
work. They labour for so much a day, and 
honestly say so. It is in the nature of a 
quick, sympathetic nation to be desultory, 
and the Irish are desultory till they come to 
England, when they suddenly develope the 
most marvellous perseverance, and trot up and 
down ladders with hods on their shoulders in 
a manner wonderful to behold." 

"Dear Mrs. Hartley, how I wish I could 
make you like the Irish ! " said Grace. 

"I like you; is not that sufficient ?" was 
the prompt reply. 

"!N"o, not half, nor quarter.'^ 

" Ah ! my love, you are like those unrea- 
sonable women who expect their husbands to 
be fond, not merely of them but of the whole 
of their relations, to the sixth and seventh 
cousins." 

It was a singular fact, and one Grace could 
not avoid remarking to herself, that on paper 
she and Mrs. Hartley had been much more 
confidential and friendly than they seemed ever 
likely to become while they remained face to 

VOL. III. F 



66 The EarPs Promise. 

face. Doubtless this arose from the circum- 
stance that in their correspondence Mrs. 
Hartley still thought of Grace as the young 
girl in whose fortunes she had once taken an 
almost motherly interest, whilst Grace pictured 
Mrs. Hartley as the kindly, middle-aged lady 
who had petted and ridiculed and been fond 
of her ever since she attained to the dignity of 
long frocks and turned-up hair. 

For Grace had never worn her hair in ring- 
lets like Nettie ; not all the papers or irons on 
earth could have given her hair that curl 
which Xkigslough so much admired in Miss 
O'Hara ; and after having had her locks twisted 
up into some hundreds of little twists and 
screws, Grace would appear an hour after her 
nurse had unfurled her curls with her hair as 
straight as if no attempt had ever been made 
to dress it in the approved fashion. 

Thus it came to pass that as those were not 
the days in which children's tresses were al- 
lowed to float in the wind, or stream down to 
their waists through the valley between their 
shoulders, Grace was condemned to have her 



Breaking the Ice. 67 

hair done up in two long plaits, wHch were 
sometimes worn as pigtails, and sometimes 
doubled up like curtain-liolders, being tied 
together at the nape of the neck by ribbons 
brown or blue. 

Considering that blue did not suit the child, 
and that a more hideous style of dressing the 
hair never prevailed, it may be suggested 
that Kingslough had some excuse for the 
opinion at which it then arrived concerning 
little Miss Moffat's looks. 

Those days were gone, the days of plum- 
cake and delightful evenings, with two people 
for a whole party, and Grace allowed to make 
the tea ; the days when Mrs. Hartley used to 
ask the girl to spend pleasant afternoons with 
her, and took her drives and walks, and was 
very good to her altogether. 

Yes, they were gone, as the Grace of old 
was gone ; the plain chrysalis who was now so 
pretty a creature, the little, grave, silent 
orphan who, wont to blush when any one 
spoke to her, could now speak for herself in 
any place and in any company, but who could 

f2 



68 The EarVs Pro7nise. 

not talk confidentially to Mrs. Hartley, per- 
haps for the reason that Mrs. Hartley now felt 
a difficulty in asking questions she once would 
not have hesitated to put by letter. 

There was a break, not caused by disagree- 
ment, but by apparent lack of sympathy be- 
tween them, which both felt painfully, which 
each would have given much to bridge over. 
I think this kind of reserve between staunch 
friends is by no means so uncommon as many 
people imagine. It is more difficult to get the 
heart to break silence than the tongue, and 
for this reason the most fluent talkers are 
not those who speak of their tenderest 
feelings. 

How long this might have gone on it is 
hard to conjecture, had there not one morning 
arrived a letter for Miss Moffat, directed in a 
man's handwriting. Mrs. Hartley noticed the 
fact. It was the first communication from any 
gentleman, except her lawyer, Grace had re- 
ceived since her arrival. Her friend knew 
this, because she opened the post-bag and 
dealt out its contents. 



Breaking the Ice, 69 

The whole clay after Grace was silent and 
thoughtful. Mrs. Hartley noticed she looked 
in an abstracted manner out of the window, 
and that occasionally she fixed her eyes on her 
with a sort of questioning and anxious ex- 
pression. 

Towards evening Mrs. Hartley determined 
to break the ice. '^ That girl has something 
on her mind," she considered as she entered 
the drawing-room five minutes before dinner, 
^^ I must find out what it is," and she proved 
herself as good as her words. 

They had dined, dessert was on the table, 
Grace was toying with some fi'uit on her plate, 
Mrs. Hartley had swallowed two of the three 
glasses of port her doctor assured her she 
ought to take with as '' much regularity as if it 
were medicine." 

At this precise stage of the proceedings she 
had made up her mind to speak, and with 
Mrs. Hartley, to make up her mind was to 
do. 

^^ Grace," she began, ^* there is something 
troubling you." 



70 The EarPs Promise, 

"Yes, Mrs. Hartley, I have a very great 
trouble/' answered Grace calmly. 

In an access of excitement Mrs. Hartley 
poured out and swallowed that third glass of 
port. 

"Let us go into the other room, where 
we can talk comfortably, my dear," she said, 
rising ; and Grace, nothing loth, left her un- 
touched fruit, walked across the hall into the 
snug little drawing-room she had learned to 
love so much, opening on one side to a conser- 
vatory, and on the other to a lawn kept smooth 
and soft as velvet. 

After all, spite of its shrubs, its trees, its 
long sea frontage, and its acres of garden 
ground, there was room for much improve- 
ment at Bayview. 

"H ever I return to Ireland," Grace had 
said to herself many and many a time, " I will 
have that grass kept like these English 
lawns." 

And yet after all there is grass in the 
Emerald Isle smoother, shorter, closer, and 
softer than any in England. Only in that 



Breaking the Ice, 71 

case sheep have been the mowers. I know 
an island in a lake where they fatten in six 
weeks, and where it is perhaps unneces- 
sary to say stand the ruins of an old monas- 
tery. 



72 



CHilPTER IV. 

GRACE TELLS HER STORY. 

Grace's experiences of drawing-rooms in her 
own country had been considerable. 

She had been acquainted from her childhood 
with immense apartments, commanding sea and 
land views. She knew the orthodox style of 
furniture which upholsterers sent in as a 
species of groundwork upon which individual 
fancy subsequently painted the form of its own 
especial idiosyncrasy. She had beheld acres 
of carpeting, hangings which were miracles of 
heaviness and expense, chairs first covered 
with green, or amber, or ponceau, or silver 
grey, to match the curtains, and then wrapped 



Grace Tells Her Story, 73 

up in hollancl, to preserve their beauty intact, 
ponderous loo and sofa tables, everything as 
good as money could buy, and expected to last 
accordingly ; these were some of the necessaries 
without which no drawing-room in a gentle- 
man's house could be considered orthodox ; but 
when all such things had been provided, it was 
admissible to add such other elegances as 
personal taste might suggest. 

Personal taste or family circumstances pro- 
duced occasionally some very curious devices 
in the way of ornamentation. Eelics from 
Pompeii would be the attraction of one home ; 
carved temples, cedar-wood boxes, daggers 
with richly-ornamented handles, spoke in 
another of some male relatives who had 
crossed the sea, and brought back flotsam and 
jetsom with him. Dogs, parrots, flowers, de- 
picted in wool on canvas, testified in many 
homes to the indefatigable industry of its 
female occupants ; in rare cases, rare because 
the materials were for those days costly, bead- 
work in unlimited quantities charmed the be- 
holder ; occasionally old china, whicli M'(.>uld 



74 The EarVs Promise, 

now fetch fabulous prices in London, adorned 
the chiifonierSj whatnots, and cabinets of persons 
who had none too much money to spare, whilst 
in almost all cases where there were young 
ladies, or even middle-aged, the open piano, 
the litter of music, often a harp or a guitar, 
spoke of the love of that talent which is be- 
stowed so much more freely on Irish than 
English women. 

All these rooms, and many others besides, 
Orace had been free of; rooms with a certain 
stately dignity about them, rooms connected 
with which she had many a pleasant childish 
and girlish memory, but a drawing-room like 
Mrs. Hartley's was as far beyond her imagi- 
nation as that other style of apartment 
generally and prudently unoccupied which 
obtains in the subiu^bs of London, and in the 
houses of all highly respectable and sober- 
minded middle class people thi'oughout 
England generally. 

Luxury in those days had not attained to 
the height to which it has since sprung. It 
has been reserved for the reign of her present 



Grace Tells Her Story, 75 

Majesty to witness a more rapid transition 
from comparative simplicity of living, lodging, 
dressing, spending, to the wildest extravagance 
of expenditure in all ranks, tlian has ever 
occurred before at any era, or in any nation ; 
and for this reason the decorations and 
furniture which seemed perfection to Grace 
Moffat, would no doubt appear extremely poor 
and commonplace if catalogued for the benefit 
of the reader. 

In the nature of almost every woman there 
is, I suspect, a latent, cat-like love of things 
soft, bright, cosy, and there was something in the 
whole aspect of Mrs. Hartley's dramng-room 
which appealed to this sense in Grace's nature. 
She liked walking over the thick carpet ; the 
white sheepskin hearthrug on which generally 
reposed a King Charles that hated Grace with 
a detestation she cordially reciprocated ; the 
fire-light reflected from mirrors, sparkling 
against lustres ; the lovely water-colour di-aw- 
ings hanging on the walls ; the delightful easy 
chairs ; the statuettes ; the flowers piled up 
in banks between the long French windows, 



7 6 The JEarPs Proinise. 

and the conservatory filled with rare and 
beautiful plants ; all these things were pleasant 
as they were novel to the rich widow's 
visitor. 

In Mrs. Hartley's opinion, however, the 
very greatest ornament her room had ever 
held was Grace Moffat, and the admiration 
she always entertained for her guest was 
heightened as they entered the apartment 
together, by the new interest now attaching to 
her, as the older lady felt satisfied must be the 
case. Some misplaced affection, some love 
entanglement which she had kept secret 
until she could endure to keep silent no 
longer. 

'' l!^ow sit down, dear, and tell me all about 
it ; you prefer the low chair, I know," began 
Mrs. Hartley; but Grace answered, — 

'^I should like to sit on the rug close by 
you, if I may, and if Jet does not object to- 
my compaDy." 

^^He shall be taken away," said Jet's 
mistress, laying her hands on the bell. 

^'No!" interposed Grace. ^'I will try 



Grace Tells Her Story. 77 

to be amiable to him, if he will be tolerant 
of me," and she sat down ; a pretty picture in 
the firelight, her black dress disposing itself in 
graceful folds over the white rug, her hands 
crossed idly in her lap, and her face upturned 
to Mrs. Hartley, who, stooping, kissed it 
almost involuntarily. 

" !N'ow who is he ? " asked the widow. 
*^ There is no ^he' in my story," Grace 
answered ; ^' at least no ' he ' in your sense. I 
hope you will not be disappointed [when I 
tell you my trouble has nothing to do with 
love, but a very great deal to do with 
money." 

^^ So far, my dear, I think money has been 
a trouble to you ; when you are as old as I am 
you will understand the trouble of having 
money is by no means comparable to the 
trouble of being without it." 

^^ In this case my money has nothing to do 
with the story." 

^^ Then, for mercy's sake, child, tell me what 
has to do with it." 

''I have," Grace answered; ^^a secret has 



78 The EarPs Pro7iiise, 

been confided to me that I do not know how 
to deal with; a responsibility has been put 
upon me which makes me wretched. I fully 
intended when I first came here to tell you all 
about the matter, but — " 

^^ But what ? " asked Mrs. Hartley softly ; 
'^ this is the light, and you are in the mood 
for confession, let us get that little 'but' out 
of the way now — for ever." 

*^I will try," said Grace boldly. ''You are 
not really changed in the least ; you are the 
same true, dear friend you were in the old 
Kingslough days when Nettie made such a 
mess of her life ; but everything about you is 
changed. The grandeui' — don't laugh at me — 
and the formality, and the stateliness of your 
surroundings threw me back at first, and 
then I fancy you thought I was changed, 
and so — " 

" Yes ; you need not try to finish ; spite of 
your occasional little whifi's of temper, you 
have changed, or rather developed, into one of 
the sweetest and most lovable women I have 
ever known. And now you are getting accus- 



Grace Tells Her Story, ^9 

tomed to what you call my grandeur, and En- 
lish ways do not seem so objectionable as they 
did at first, and we are going this evening to 
break the ice once and for always; and you 
have a story to tell, and I am in one of my 
best moods for listening." 

'•^ My story is a very short one, but it will 
interest you, for it concerns the Eileys." 

^' Which of them?" 

" All ; father, mother, sisters, brother," an- 
swered Grace. ^^The night my father was 
taken ill I was told something which may 
affect them all most seriously. It was my in- 
tention to consult him in the matter, but after 
— after his death you may imagine I forgot for 
a time in my own grief the possible griefs of 
other people. Before I left Ireland, however, 
I received a note containing the words, ' Have 
you forgotten what I told you ? ' To-day a 
second note is forwarded to me repeating the 
same inquiry." 

^' May I ask the name of the writer ? " 

"No ; there is my difficulty. I am bound 
to silence as regards my informant. But for 



8o The EarPs Promise. 

that, I should have sent for General Eiley and 
told him all I had learned." 

*^ The Eiley s and you have not been very 
intimate since you were sweet seventeen ? " 
said Mrs. Hartley interrogatively. 

"No," was the reply. "We of course are 
friendly if we happen to meet, but Mrs. Eiley's 
disappointment at my refusing John was so 
great that she ceased visiting Bayview entirely. 
I felt rather hurt that she never called upon 
me after my loss. The General was ill ; indeed 
his health has been bad for a long time past, 
but I thought and think she and the girls might 
have let bygones be bygones, and come and 
said, ' We are sorry for your trouble.' " 

" It certainly would have been more grace- 
ful," remarked Mrs. Hartley; "but, then, 
one never associates the ideas of grace and 
Mrs. Eiley together. But to come to your 
story." 

" You know there is a mortgage on Wood- 
brook?" 

^' I knew there was one, and to Iniow that, is 
to conclude there is one still. I never heard 



Grace Tells Her Story. 8 1 

of a mortgage being paid off in Ireland ; such 
a tMng might have happened, but I do not 
think it likely." 

^^The Woodbrook mortgage has not been 
paid at all events," replied Grace ; ^^ but, so far 
as I can gather, it has changed hands." 

" In whose hand is it now, then ? " 

^'InMr. Brady's." 

'•'- What ! the man Nettie ran away with ? " 

'^The same." 

^^ "Where on earth did he get enough money 
to enable him to advance such a sum ? " 

'^ I have not the faintest idea." 

^'What could have induced him to do a 
thing of the kind?" 

'^Eevenge. He means to turn the Eileys 
out of Woodbrook ; at least so I am in- 
formed." 

" Can you trust your informant ? " 

" Fully ; there is, I think, not the slightest 
hope of" — Grace hesitated; she could not say, 
'-'- his being mistaken," and she would not say, 
^' her ; " so she altered the form of her sentence, 

VOL. III. G 



S2 The EarPs Promise. 

and finished it by adding, ^^ there cannot be 
any mistake in the matter." 

Mrs. Hartley lay back in her chair and 
thought in silence. 

She Avas quick enough to grasp the whole 
meaning of Grace's communication, and she 
understood sufficient of legal matters to com- 
prehend how to a certain extent the desire of 
Mr. Brady's heart might be compassed. 

^^ What can be done ? " Grace asked at 
length. 

'' I do not see that either of us can do any- 
thing," was the reply. ^' General Eiley ought 
to be told by some one, and the question 
naturally arises by whom ? Shall I write to 
him, if you feel any hesitation about re- 
opening your acquaintance with the family ? " 

" I should not have any feeling of that kind 
to influence me in such a case as this," Grace 
answered ; *^but if I wrote to the General, 
it would be certain in some way to reach 
Mr. Brady's ears, and if it did — " 

" Supposing it did ? " 

^^ By putting two and two together he might, 



Grace Tells Her Story, ^2i 

he would, suspect from whom I received my 
information." 

" And in that event disastrous results might 
ensue to yoiu- nameless friend? " 

*' I believe so." 

*^ I think you had better tell me the name 
of your friend." 

" I cannot. I promised to keep it a secret. 
It fills me with such dread and apprehension 
to fancy what might occur if Mr. Brady ever 
should learn who betrayed him, that I feel 
tempted at times to let matters take their 
course. Surely, the General is old enough to 
manage his affairs without any assistance from 
me ? " 

" He may be old enough, but he is far from 
wise enough. If Mr. Brady has really laid a 
trap for him, he will walk into it as innocently 
as a child ; and then, some fine day, we shall 
hear they have all to leave Woodbrook ; that 
the shock has killed the General; and that 
when John returns there will not be an acre of 
land left of his inheritance." 

*^ I thought of writing an anonymous letter," 

g2 



84 The EarPs Promise, 

said Grace innocently; ^'but then no one 
ever takes any notice of anonymous letters." 

^^ It is well you did not carry that plan into 
execution," remarked Mrs. Hartley. ^' I must 
think the matter over, Grace. It has come 
upon me suddenly; in fact, I cannot realize 
such a complication. You are positive," she 
went on, ''that you have not been deceived; 
that the he, she, or it who told you the story 
did so in perfect good faith ? " 

"Yes, quite positive, the risk incurred 
alone would satisfy me of that, even if other 
circumstances had failed to do so." 

'' Do you know it strikes me you have taken 
the whole affair rather coolly, yoimg lady ! " 
said Mrs. Hartley. '' I think, even although you 
did refuse John Eiley, he would not have per- 
mitted months to pass without letting you know 
your fortune was in danger, had the cases been 
reversed." 

"I have felt something of what you ex- 
press," Grace replied, '' and suffered in con- 
sequence. Had John been in this country,. 
I should have told him at once — I should have 



Grace Tells Her Story. 85 

felt safe with, him — but I am afraid of telling 
the General. I suppose I must be a great 
€Oward, but I never dreaded anything so much 
as having it known the information came from 
me. I could have trusted John's discretion, I 
cannot trust that of the General or Mrs. Biley 
or the girls." 

'^ Still we must not let them be utterly 
beggared without lifting a finger to save them. 
Besides, your friend must wish them to know 
their danger, or such a communication would 
never have been made ; and if harm does come 
of Mr. Brady hearing you are acquainted with 
his secrets, it seems to me that you are in no 
way responsible for it." 

" Harm must not come, Mrs. Hartley," said 
Grace earnestly. ^^ If you can think of any 
way in which we can let the General know 
without his connecting either of us with the 
intelligence — well ; but if not, the very best 
thing that could be done would be for you to 
write to John and tell him that he must come 
home. 

*^ And find Mr. Brady ^ in possession ' of the 



86 The EarPs Promii 



ise. 



property ! " finished Mrs. Hartley. '^ I sus- 
pect there is no time to be lost about the 
matter, and that, clever as we both are, we 
shall have to get the assistance of some man in 
it. Poor John ! it would indeed be hard to 
lose both wife and lands.'' 

" I should have thought he might have 
found the former without much difficulty ere 
this," said Grace. 

" Then, my dear, you judged Mr. John 
Eiley, as usual, unfairly," retorted Mrs. 
Hartley. 

Her visitor laughed. " I do so like to hear 
you defend him. You are thoroughly in 
earnest on that subject." 

^^Earnestness is a good quality," said the 
widow. '^ It is one in which some of your 
suitors have been rather deficient." 

^^ None of them, so far as their desire to get 
my money was concerned ^ I assure you," Miss 
Mofiat answered, which might be considered 
as rather a neat little tit in return for Mrs. 
Hartley's tat. 

For a long time after they had separated for 



Grace Tells Her Story. 87 

the niglit the latter lady lay awake, thinking 
over Grace's story, and wondering who could 
have told her. She recalled all the people she 
had known in Kingslough, she puzzled her 
head to imagine who it might be so 
utterly in Mr. Erady's power as to dread the 
weight of his vengeance. She tried to re- 
member if Grace had let fall any word likely 
to give her a clue, but in vain. 

^^ It must be that Hanlon or else Scott — I 
dare say it was Scott. But, then, Mr. Brady 
and he could not be bitterer enemies than they 
are ; besides, the address on that letter was 
written by a person of education. I feel no 
doubt it was Mr. Hanlon," and then all at once 
the truth flashed upon her, and she sat up in 
bed, saying almost out aloud, ^^ It was Nettie, 
the man's own wife." Even in the darkness 
Kingslough seemed to rise before her eyes. 
Kingslough at high noon, with the sun dancing 
on the sea and a group of pitying friends 
gathered round a feeble old woman bewailing 
herself for Nettie, golden-haired Nettie, who 
had gone out that morning all unsuspecting to 
meet her fate. 



88 The Earfs Promise. 

Next morning Mrs. Hartley appeared at 
breakfast, with signs of sleeplessness around 
her eyes, and tokens of anxiety on her face. 

^' I have decided on the course we must 
take," she said, when they were alone ; "but 
before I speak about it, I want to tell and ask 
you something." 

" I know now from whom you received your 
information; do not be frightened, for the secret 
is safe with me, and it is well I do know, for 
otherwise we might, with the best intentions, 
have secured a fiasco. What I wish to ask is 
this. Is he aware she is acquainted with this 
affair?" 

^^ Mrs. Hartley," said Grace quietly, " I must 
refuse to answer any question in connection with 
the individual who brought this intelligence 
to me. I wish it never had been brought. 
. I am the last person in the world on whom 
such a responsibility should have been 
thrown." 

" I agree with you to a certain extent. I 
think there are many persons in the world who 
would have been of more use in such a crisis 



Grace Tells Her Story, 89 

than yourself. The worst of young heiresses, 
even if they have philanthropic impulses and 
amiable dispositions, is that they are apt to 
get slightly — " 

^' Selfish," suggested one of the young 
heiresses referred to. 

^^ No, I do not mean exactly that ; in fact, I 
am not exactly certain that I could express 
what I do mean. One thing, however, I must 
say, making all allowance for the difficulty in 
which you have been placed, — I think, Miss 
Orace, you ought to have made some move in 
the matter ere this ; you ought to have told 
me all about it before you had been twenty- 
four hours in the same house with me. There, 
I have spoken out my mind and feel better for 
it. Now are you going to be very angry with 
me?" 

'' No indeed," Grace answered; ^^ I like to be 
scolded, it seems as though some one loved me 
enough to be interested in me," and she caught 
Mrs. Hartley's hand and held it for a second. 
There were unshed tears in the eyes of both. 
Perhaps the same thought occurred to each at 



go The EarPs Promise, 

the same moment. They had wealth, and 
position, friends, acquaintances ; they possessed 
those things deemed valuable by most people ; 
and yet they were lonely creatures, the one in 
her youth, the other in her age. 

^^ I shall write," said Mrs. Hartley, after a 
pause, ^^to Lord Ardmome, or rather, I shall 
go to see him — he is in London now ; he is so 
courteous a nobleman, I dare say he would 
come to see me if I asked him.'' 

" That would be a far better arrangement," 
remarked Grace. ^^ Your servants here could 
attach no importance to his visit, but his 
servants there might." 

'' Nonsense ! " exclaimed Mrs. Hartley, but 
she gave way nevertheless, and wrote a note 
forthwith in which she stated she desired to 
have Lord Ardmorne's advice and assistance, 
and stating she would send her carriage to meet 
iany train by which he might appoint to travel. 

By return of post came his lordship's answer. 
He should be only too delighted, he said, if his 
advice or assistance could be of any service to 
Mrs. Hartley, and he would leave London by 
such a train on such a day. 



Grace Tells Her Sto7y, 91 



"So far well," said the widow; " now we 
must have a nice luncheon for the dear old 
man, and you must look your very best. I 
suppose you are not desirous of adding any 
other members of the nobility to your list of 
suitors ; but as penance for your sin of omission, 
you ought to make yourself very charming." 

" I will try," answered Grace, and she suc- 
ceeded. Lord Ardmorne was delighted with 
her. 

When, in the pretty drawing-room, Mrs. 
Hartley repeated all Grace had told her to him, 
the visitor looked exceedingly grave. 

"This thing must not be," he said; "we 
must save the General from ruin, and keep the 
estate for the son — a fine, brave, honest fellow. 
I never did a kindness to any young man 
whose subsequent career satisfied me so com- 
pletely. I never receive a letter from India 
in which his name is not mentioned, and with 
approval." 

Grace felt her colour rise a little at this lauda- 
tion of a man she had never thought clever or 
remarkable in any way, and she turned her 



•92 The Earl's Promise. 

head away, so that if Mrs. Hartley glanced 
towards her, she might build no fancy from 
her face. 

But Mrs. Hartley did no such thing. She was 
much too astute a woman to let Grace imagine 
she was going to plead John Eiley's cause 
again. She had made up her mind that Miss 
Moffat and her first lover should marry, but 
she did not intend to let Grace see her game, 
or tell her for what stakes she was playing. 
Mentally, she likened her own position to that 
of the man who, driving pigs along the road to 
Cork, told all the people he met that he was 
proceeding in a contrary direction for fear the 
animals might immediately turn back. 7 

She had guessed Grace's little peculiarities 
with tolerable accuracy, and she was determined 
not to risk damaging her favourite's chance by 
running counter to them. 

From, the tone of his letters, she knew no 
woman had as yet filled up Grace's place in 
John's heart. 

^^ I wonder if he would still love her if they 
met. She is beautiful now, which she cer- 



Gi^ace Tells Her Story. 93, 

tainly was not then ; but she is not quite the 
Grace he knew — " 

Was she not ? Before another twelvemonth 
had passed, Mrs. Hartley knew of what stuff 
Grace was made. 

'-'- 1 shall at once write to Mr. Eiley, and tell 
him his presence is urgently required in Ire- 
land." 

^^ But what a pity it seems to do so, when 
he is getting on so well in India ! " 

" If he finds affairs in Ireland are able to go 
on without him, he can return to India ; I will 
arrange all that." 

" But it would be dangerous to wait for his 
return before making any move in the matter," 
suggested Mrs. Hartley. 

" I shall not wait for anything or person," 
was the reply ; " I shall ascertain if the state- 
ment be true — no reflection intended, Miss 
Moffat, on your sagacity; this can be done 
through the General's lawyers." 

" And then ? " suggested Mi's. Hartley. 

'' Then I shall begin to be perplexed. I 
do not suppose, if the interest were regularly 



94 The EarPs Promise, 

settled, there would be any necessity to pay off 
the mortgage, but still I think it will have to 
be paid off, and if so, where is the money to 
come from ? It is not given to every one to 
command capital as Mr. Brady seems able to 
do. I have been buying an estate lately in 
one of the midland counties, and it has made 
me very short — very short indeed. But bless 
me ! to think of Brady aspiring to Woodbrook ! 
' !N'o matter at what sacrifice, that must be pre- 
vented. A place I would gladly own my- 
self." 

"All my money is invested," said Mrs. 
Hartley. "I am afraid I could not realize 
any considerable sum for a long time." 

" I have not the slightest idea where my 
money is," added Miss Moffat ; " but if any of 
it is available, I should like to help." 

"I^ot to be thought of," suggested Mrs. 
Hartley. '' I am sure Lord Ardmorne agrees 
with me, when I say the idea ought not to be 
entertained for a moment." 

" I really am at a loss — " began the noble- 
man. 



Grace Tells Her Story, 95 

^^ If you are sensitive, Grace, you can leave 
us," said Mrs. Hartley ; ^' if not, you can hear 
what I say. There was a time, my lord, when 
this young lady's fortune would have infused 
new blood into the Woodbrook estate, when a 
very honourable and honest young gentleman 
who was very fond of her asked her to be his 
wife. But she could not fancy him. It was a 
pity, still such things will happen. Without 
further explanation, you will see at once that if 
Miss Moffat stepped forward at this juncture 
to offer assistance, her feelings and motives 
might be misconstrued. Her views have im- 
dergone no change, but it might be imagined 
they had." 

Grace sat chafing in her place, whilst Mrs. 
Hartley delivered herself of this long sentence, 
but she did not speak. Lord Ardmorne, after 
studying the pattern of the carpet for a mo- 
ment or two, looked up and said with a twinkle 
in his kindly eyes, — 

'^Yes, I agree with you, though it does 
seem hard a young lady should be unable to 
help a friend because his son was once her 



96 The EarPs P^'omise. 

suitor. These difficulties are boulders in the 
path of life, but still we must all face them. 
If, however, I am not greatly mistaken in 
Miss Moffat, she is one of those who are 
given — 

" To do good by stealth, 
And blush to find it fame," 

and, supposing money be urgently needed, 
I fancy she would lend it to me and let me 
take the credit of helping the General and his 
family at this crisis. You would trust me, 
Miss Moffat, to take as much care of your 
pride as I should of your fortune ? " 

Said Grace — ^' My lord, I would trust you 
with my life," and passed out into the con- 
servatory, thinking that if the Glendares had 
been made of such stuff as this, it Avould have 
seemed a glorious lot to link her fortune with 
that of Eobert Somerford— even although the 
ways and doings of the nobility are not as the 
ways and doings of the class from which she 
sprung. 

" A most charming girl ! " exclaimed Lord 
Ardmorne, "and the case was, as you im- 
plied, serious ! " 



Grace Tells Her Story. 97 

^^Yes; Jolin Eiley loved Grace Moffat, 
as a girl is only liked once in her lifetime. 
That was why he went abroad, that is why he 
stays abroad, that is probably the reason why 
he will remain single till he is middle-aged and 
rich. You have seen the young lady who is 
'- the woman ' of that man's life.'' 

'-'- 1 fancy your story ought to end, however, 
Mrs. Hartley, with — they lived happy ever 
after." 

But Mrs. Hartley shook her head. Not 
even to this new ally did she intend to show 
her hand. 



VOL. III. 



98 



CHAPTER V. 

ALMOST TOO LATE. 

LoED Aedmorne was as good as his word, and 
better; thereby demonstrating the truth of 
the frequent assertion, that those who pro- 
mise little often perform much ; while those 
who promise much usually fail altogether in 
performing. 

Not in the least like the Somerfords was the 
Marquis of Ardmorne. He was not hand- 
some in person or gracious in manner, or fluent 
of speech, but he was true ; true in his pre- 
judices, which were many ; in his political 
faith, which was becoming obnoxious even in 
England ; in his religion, that generally con- 



Almost Too Late, 99 



demned all men — but was so in the habit of 
excepting special persons and cases that the 
damnatory clauses were practically rendered 
innocuous. 

From what stock shall we say such a man 
sprang. He was not Scotch, or Irish, or 
English ; but he was something which we are 
accustomed — though as I think, erroneously — 
to regard as a mixture of all tln-ee. He was 
what the tenants called a hard landlord, and 
yet his rents were lower than those of the 
Glendares. 

Politically, the Glendares were on the right 
side to please the people. He was on the 
wrong ; and the " hard bit," as the tenantry 
called it, about Lord Ardmorne was that when 
a man took a farm from him he had the choice 
of voting as his landlord wished, of thinking 
as his landlord thought, or of having worldly 
matters made uncomfortable for him. 

To ensure so desirable a state of affairs, Lord 
Ardmorne granted no fresh leases ; but let his 
lands at a proportionately low rental, so as to 

h2 



lOO The Eajdh Promise. 

be able to rid bis farms of recalcitrant tenants 
as rapidly as migbt be. 

I do not defend tbe system. Of course 
amongst a people so higbly enlightened as our 
own — in a state of society wbich produces 
such profound thinkers, and renders the views 
of even the lowest so clear and so just, as that 
which recommends itself at present — it is most 
desirable the freedom of action and of con- 
science should obtain, even if such freedom of 
action and of conscience produce similar re- 
sults to those England and Ireland have 
both had to deplore during the last few years ; 
but still those who took Lord Ardmorne's 
farms did so with a perfect knowledge of con- 
sequences. 

There was no secrecy about the matter. My 
lord having a certain set of opinions, expected 
his tenants to acquiesce in those opinions ; and 
they were aware of the fact. 

When by reason of death — the resignation 
of a member, or other causes — an election took 
place. Lord Ardmorne- expected his men to 
vote for his man. If they refused to do so^ 



Almost Too Late. loi 

my lord turned them out. They rented his 
land, knowing well the full consequences of 
contumacy, and if they liked to risk those con- 
sequences, it was scarcely fair to grumble (as 
they did) when the marquis enforced his share 
of the bargain. 

If an Irish farmer of that period could only 
live a struggling trader for a year in the city 
of London, in this, he might well pray heaven 
to deliver him from the men of our time, 
and to restore him even a hard landlord like 
the marquis, who expected his tenantry to 
think as he thought for the sake of an ex- 
ceptionally low rental and various other in- 
dulgences beside. 

The Marquis of Ardmorne would have found 
scant favour at the hands of those gentlemen 
of the press who, in the present day, are good 
enough to instruct the nobility in their duties 
as landlords and landowners. He was in no 
way romantic. He might have forgiven a 
tenant a year's rent, but he could not over- 
look his venturing to have an opinion of his 
own. 



I02 The EarPs Promise. 

His manners were not genial ; he could not, 
to reproduce an old Irish phrase, have 
'' charmed a bird off the bush," even if he had 
tried to do so. He was one of those who, it is 
sometimes stated, strive to stop progress. His 
OAvn party honestly thought they were only 
the breakwaters that tended to keep the peri- 
lous waves of innovation from sweeping over 
and destroying the land. 

The Eeform Bill he believed to have been 
the ruin of the country. Had he lived to see 
the Irish Church Bill passed, he would have 
covered his face and turned him to the 
wall, feeling death had lingered too long. 
Tenant right stank in his nostrils. Liberty of 
conscience was a phrase which sounded in his 
ears like the claptrap expression of a party 
who were trying to lead the lower orders 
astray. 

The peasantry he regarded as children who, 
not knowing what was best for them, ought to 
do as they were told. There could be no mis- 
take as to what Lord Ardmorne considered the 
first duty of a tenant-farmer ; and if the 



Almost Too Late. 103 



tenant-farmer chanced to entertain a different 
opinion, why so much the worse for him. 

On the other hand, the Ardmorne tenantry 
enjoyed advantages unknown to those who 
rented the Somerford lands. The marquis, it 
is true, did little or nothing in the way of im- 
provements ; but he did not prevent the farmers 
improving their holdings if they pleased to do 
so. Lime and stone were supplied to them at 
almost nominal prices. The shore rights, 
such as the Glendares had let and the lessee 
sublet again, were practically free to those who, 
behaving themselves properly, were sufiered to 
cultivate his lordship's lands and pay rent to 
his lordship's agent ; and when crops failed or 
sickness laid low, and the gale days came 
round, time would often be given to make up 
that rent for which, as on the Glendare estates, 
the farmers and their wives, and their sons 
and daughters, and men-servants and maid- 
servants, worked from morning till night from 
week's beginning to week's end, from the 
time they were big enough to pick up stones 
and herd cows till they were carried to their 



104 ^/^^ EarPs Promise, 

Nevertheless, the marquis was not liked 
as Th' Airl had been. Though his religious 
opinions were identical with their own; 
though he reverenced the glorious, pious, and 
immortal memory of King "William ; though 
he had nothing but contempt and hatred for 
that of James ; though he was an Orangeman, 
and thought ^'Protestant Boys'' the most 
charming melody ever composed ; though his 
watchword, like theirs, was '^ No Surrender ;" 
though his feelings towards the Pope were 
identical with their own sentiments, despite 
the fact that he uttered his commination ser- 
vices in Parliament in more orthodox and 
gentlemanly fashion than they shouted out 
theirs in the streets and highways, — still, his 
lordship failed to win the hearts of his 
people. 

He had always been a grave quiet man, 
with stern features and reserved habits; a 
man with a story in his life which had perhaps 
made the fulfilment of his age different from 
the promise of his youth; a man of strong 
purposes and deep feelings; a man to like 



Almost Too Late. 105 

few, but to like those few much ; a man who 
would have thought himself no better than a 
thief, if he had left impoverished acres and a 
diminished rent-roll to the next heir, albeit 
that heir was neither son nor nephew, nor 
aught but a distant relative who held a high 
position in India. 

It was to this relative he had sent out John 
Eiley, and the young man might pecuniarily 
have done well for himself in his new appoint- 
ment, had he not commenced sending home all 
he could spare in order to enable his family to 
live more comfortably. 

He would have done them a greater kind- 
ness had he kept his money. To persons who 
have always been short, the command of a little 
money is a great snare as well as to those who 
have never had much experience in spending ; 
so at least it proved with Mrs. Eiley. 

She had been compelled to do without so 
many things during the previous part of her 
life, that now when a few of them were within 
her reach she tried to compass all; and the 
result proved that not only was the Indian 



io6 The EarPs Promise. 



allowance spent, but the interest on the 
mortgage fell into arrear. 

^' When the girls are married, we can soon 
retrench," Mrs. Eiley observed, but the girls 
failed to marry. If they had not done so when 
they lived quietly and dressed plainly, and 
engaged themselves in those various works of 
a domestic kind which recommend young ladies 
to men of a prudent and economical turn of 
mind, they were certainly likely to remain 
unwedded when, arrayed in gorgeous attire 
they were met at parties and balls in Dublin, 
where it was their new custom to winter. 

They never lacked partners, and they never 
were destitute of attendant swains, who found 
Woodbrook a pleasant sort of house at which 
to stay for a week or two in the summer and 
autumn ; but although the hopes of Mrs. Eiley 
were often excited, they always ended in dis- 
appointment. Visitors they had in abundance, 
but suitors none ; till at length Lucy captivated 
a curate, whose addition to the finances of the 
family proved seventy pounds a year from his 
rector, twenty-five pounds a year fr-om private 
sources, and a baronet uncle. 



Ahnost Too Late, lo' 



^' Who will be certain to present him with a 
good living,'' said Mrs. Eiley ; though on what 
foundation she erected this pleasing super-^ 
structure was an inscrutable mystery to all her 
friends. 

Things were in this state when Lord 
Ai'dmorne through his solicitors ascertained, 
first, that if Mr. Erady did not actually hold 
the mortgage he was intimately and pecuniarily 
associated with those who did, and that it was 
in his power to pull the strings which prompted 
the movements of the ostensible actors ; second^ 
that the interest was running back ; third, that 
the mortgage- deed contained some unusual and 
stringent covenants; fourth, that the Wood- 
brook estates were not returning the amount 
of money they had once done ; and fifth, that 
owing to failing health, the pressui'e of anxiety, 
and the more exciting life he had in the 
interests of his daughters been leading, the 
General was becoming daily less and less 
competent to act as his own agent and to 
manage his own affairs. 

Altogether the family prospects were in as 



io8 The EarPs Promise. 

deplorable a state as family prospects could be, 
when Lord Ardmorne's solicitor went to confer 
with General Kiley's legal adviser and General 
Eiley himself. 

It was from the latter gentleman that 
information of the interest having fallen 
behind was elicited. 

Not being pressed for it, he, as frequently 
happens in such cases, had not mentioned the 
matter to those who would have advised him 
to make any sacrifice in order to keep so 
important an affair within manageable limits. 

Piteously he confessed his error, and asked, 
as people are in the habit of asking when 
counsel is almost useless, what he was to do. 

It had been agreed between Lord Ardmorne 
and the lawyers that, in consideration of his 
broken health and other causes, the fact of 
Mr. Brady having managed to thrust his 
fingers into the Eiley pie should not be 
mentioned to the General ; that if a settlement 
of the matter could be left until the son's 
return, all explanations should be deferred till 
he came back. 



Almost Too Late. 109 

The fii^st thing to be done was clearly to 
wipe off the arrears of interest ; but as not an 
acre of the "Woodbrook estate was free, General 
Eiley's solicitors said openly that they failed 
to see where the money was to come from. 

Lord Ardmorne, however, having taken up the 
affair, was not going to let this difficulty stop 
him on the very threshold of his undertaking, 
and instructed his lawyer to find the amount 
necessary. 

He did not intend to be harsh to the General, 
but he did tell the old man some very plain 
truths concerning the risk he had run of 
jeopardizing his son's inheritance ; and he 
made a point of seeing Mrs. Eiley, then in 
Dublin, and explaining to her that the old life 
of paring and pinching would have to be 
resumed if she did not wish Woodbrook to 
pass into the hands of strangers. 

^^It is all that girl's doing," groaned the 
poor murmuring lady. ^^ But for her we should 
have been comfortable and happy years and 
years ago." 

Which remark set the marquis thinking. 



no The EarPs Promise, 

Jolm was a fine fellow, and, spite his encumbered 
acres, not an ineligible imrti even for Grace 
Moffat; but he failed to see how the little 
romance he had planned could be carried out 
if Mrs. Eiley were to be one of the dramatis 
^ersonce. 

The lapse of years had not improved the 
General's wife. Lord Ardmorne could imagine 
many more desirable things than a close rela- 
tionship with her, and he left the house think- 
ing matters were complicating a little, and that 
perhaps he should not be justified in dragging 
Miss Moffat into the Eiley entanglement. 

^' Perhaps the very best thing the young man 
could do would be to persuade his father to 
sell the estate right out and go back to India. 
That, however, will be a matter for future dis- 
cussion and consideration. Meantime, we can 
do nothing but clear offthe arrears of interest." 

In this, however, his lordship proved to be 
mistaken. No sooner was the interest settled 
than notice was served requiring the repayment 
of the principal at the extremely short date 
mentioned in the deed. 



Almost Too Late, 1 1 1 

Like most of his countrymen, Lord Ardmorne 
had a passion for acquiring land. A townland 
for sale, an estate in the market, these things 
affected him as the news that a rare picture is 
to be brought to the hammer affects a collector, 
and "Woodbrook was a property he would have 
felt by no means loth to add to those he already 
possessed. 

But the knowledge of this desire tied his 
tongue. In the General's extremity he could 
not advise him to let the encumbered acres be 
purchased by some one willing and able to 
give enough for them to clear off the mortgage 
and leave a margin beside. 

Had he stepped in at this point and coun- 
selled the General to do that which really 
seemed the only rational way of solving the 
di£S.culty, he would not have cared to meet the 
man for whose return he had written. 

'' I fancy it will have to come to that in the 
end,'' he said to his solicitor in reply to a 
remark from that gentleman, that the 
sooner Woodbrook passed into other hands the 
better it would be for every one, the General 



112 The EarVs Promise. 

included, " but we must leave it for the son to 
decide." 

"I do not exactly see how the decision is to 
be left for so long a time," remarked the 
lawyer. '' There can be no question it is all 
a planned affair, and how any man's adviser 
could permit such a deed to be signed baffles 
my comprehension." 

'-'- "Well, you must remember when a state of 
mortgage becomes chronic," said the marquis^ 
"people are apt to overlook symptoms that 
would strike a person to whom the disease is 
new. Besides which there was no choice as I 
imagine in the matter. An old mortgage had 
to be paid off, and under such circumstances it 
is not always easy for a man to dictate his own 
terms." 

To which words of wisdom, coming from 
a nobleman, the lawyer listened with deference 
and attention as in duty bound ; but he 
held naturally to his own opinion never- 
theless. 

Here, 'then, the Eileys had arrived at a 
point where two roads met, and written on the 



Almost Too Late, 113 

finger-post in letters plain enough to those who 
could read were the words — To Kuin. 

Where the other road led was not so clearly- 
indicated. It puzzled Lord Ardmorne himself, 
though both long and clear-headed, to imagine 
what the end of it all would be. He could 
turn them out of the direct route to beggary, 
and he meant to do so, but whether the second 
path might not merely prove a round-about - 
way to the same end he was not prepared 
to assert. 

After all there is nothing on earth so 
difficult as to manage another man's affairs 
for him, even if he be willing to let liis 
neighbour attempt the almost impossible 
feat. 

But about the end, Lord Ardmorne did 
not mean to trouble himself till John Eiley's 
return. "When that event happened, he pro- 
posed to lay the whole difficulty of the position 
before the younger man, and warn him against 
attempting to drag an endless chain of debt 
through yet another generation. Meantime 
arrangements must be made f^for paying off 

VOL. III. I 



114 The EarPs Promise, 

the existing mortgage; and when he had 
done all he could in the matter — and with a 
solvent nobleman and in Ireland that all was 
considerable, — Lord Ardmorne found a pecu- 
niary deficiency still existed that, although not 
large in itself, was still sufficiently great to 
cause perplexity and difficulty. 

Up to this point he had decided not to 
permit Grace to moil or meddle in the matter, 
now he decided to leave her to say whether she 
would help or not. 

^^I will take care she is no loser," he said 
to himself, ^'and also that she does not appear in 
the transaction. I certainly will buy the place 
if the father and son agree to sell; if not I must 
arrange diffi3rently, that is all. So now to see 
Miss Moffat, and ascertain whether she is still 
willing to assist in saving an old family from 
utter worldly ruin." 

Very straightforwardly he put the state of 
the case before ^'thc woman of John Eiley's 
life," told her what he had done, and the precise 
way in which she could best help, that help 
being kept a secret between herself, himself, and 



Almost Too Late, 115 

Mrs. Hartley ; and if the subsequent con- 
versation were rendered less connected by 
reason of the widow's comments on the folly 
of Mrs. Eiley and the childish weakness of her 
husband, her remarks tended at least to make 
it more exciting. 

*' I should like to be of use to the General 
or his son/' Grace said with a frankness which 
caused Mrs. Hartley to shake for the ultimate 
success of her project ; ^^ indeed, I should like 
to serve any of them. It would be a sad thing 
if for lack of a friendly hand Mrs. Eiley and 
the girls had to leave Woodbrook." 

^' It is clearly Lord Ardmorne's opinion that 
the sooner they leave Woodbrook the better 
for all concerned," observed Mrs. Hartley. 
*' And in that opinion I entirely agree. If all 
the poor Irish gentry were compelled to sell 
their estates, and let people who have money 
and sense purchase them, it would be a grand 
thing for the country." 

" English people seem to think there is 
a necessary connection between money and 
sense. I must say I fail to see the link my- 
self," answered Grace. i 2 



ii6 The EarVs P. 



roviise. 



^^ I am inclined, however, to think the En- 
glish capacity to make and to keep money 
implies a considerable amount of sense," in- 
terposed Lord Ardmorne. 

^^It is not a pleasant sort of sense," per- 
sisted Grace. 

'^Perhaps not, but it is useful, my dear," 
said Mrs. Hartley. '-'• For instance, had your 
grandfather squandered the fortune he made 
instead of leaving it to you, he might have 
been a more popular old gentleman, but he 
could scarcely have proved himself so admirable 
a person in his domestic relations as was the 
case." 

'''• I sometimes wish he had never left me a 
penny," remarked Grace a little bitterly. 

^^What a shame for you to make such a 
remark. Miss Moffat, at a time when youi* for- 
tune enables you to step forward to the rescue 
of your old friends," exclaimed Lord Ai'd- 
morne, with an affectation of playful raillery 
which sat upon him about as gracefully as a 
cap and bells might have done. 

'^Yes, it is a shame," Grace answered 



Almost Too Late, 



117 



quietly; '^for about the first time in my life 
I feel really thankful now that I am as rich as 
I am." 

^^Many other opportunities for thankfulness 
from the same cause will present themselves in 
the years to come, believe me," said their 
visitor. 

" I only hope they may not have to leave 
"Woodbrook," exclaimed Miss Mofiat, a little 
irrelevantly to the conversation as it seemed. 

^'Then you ought not to hope anything of 
the kind," rebuked Mrs. Hartley. •- You 
should hope that John may have enough reso- 
lution and sufficient sense to free himself and 
his family from the incubus of debt, that must 
have made existence a daily and hourly tor- 
ture and humiliation to the whole of them. 
As I said before, if a law were passed com- 
pelling the owners of heavily mortgaged pro- 
perties to sell them, there might be a chance 
of Ireland's regeneration. As matters stand 
there is none." 

If with prqphetic eye Mrs. Hartley had been 
able to look forward a very little way, how she 



ii8 The EarPs Promise, 

would have longed for the Encumbered Estates 
Court, and welcomed the changes every one 
predicted must be wi'ought by it. 

In those days capital and civilisation were 
the favourite panaceas the English proposed 
for all Irish troubles. In these the same 
remedies are indirectly suggested, but the 
English are now quite content to leave their 
sister to find both for herself. 

And no doubt the present course is the 
correct one. The curse of all former adminis- 
trations has been that instead of leaving 
Ireland's diseases to be cured by time and 
nature, each fresh political doctor has thought 
it necessary to try his own new course of 
treatment on the patient. 

Fortunately the latest and rashest surgeon 
who has experimented on her so far as to cut 
away the grievance most bitterly complained 
of, has discovered there may be a tendency to 
hysteria in the constitution of a nation as well 
as of a woman, and that it does not follow 
because a cry is raised, ^^ The pain is here," 
that the arm or leg is to be hacked off with 



Almost Too Late, 119 

impunity. One man has deprived Ireland of 
that which kings, nor queens, nor parliament, 
nor statesman, can ever restore to her again. 
Nevertheless, he may have done both England 
and Ireland good service, for it will be some 
time before the former is tempted to try the 
result of another such surgical operation, 
let the latter cry for knife and caustic as loud 
and as long as she will. 



I20 



CHAPTER VI. 

ME. BRADY'S EX-PROJECTS. 

When Mr. Brady found the Eileys had by 
accident or design checkmated him, he was, as 
a young clerk who chanced to be favoured 
with many of his inquiries about that period, 
remarked, ''ISTeither to hold nor to bind." 

To ruin the Eileys, to oust the proud beg- 
gars — so he styled them — out of "Woodbrook, 
to bring the old man to his level, and to 
humble the pride of ^Hhat fellow out in 
India," had been the dearest desires of his 
heart for years previously. 

In order to compass them he had not spared 
his time or his trouble ; he had not objected 



Mr, Brady^s ex- Projects, 121 

to wade through very dirty water, he had not 
grumbled when asked to eat humble pie in 
quantity ; he had not bemoaned himself when 
compelled to cringe to people he longed to 
kick, or be civil to those he hated; and now 
in a moment all he had saved, toiled, lived for 
was snatched from his grasp. 

When a man first conceives the plot of 
either a good or a bad project it is, comparatively 
speaking, a small matter to find another has 
forestalled him in its execution. Let him, 
however, have nursed, tended, perfected the 
scheme, lain with it in his bosom at night, and 
taken it for his companion by day, he finds it 
a cruel hardship to have the one thing he 
fancied his own, the one good he asked in life, 
claimed by another. 

If the punishment of deliberate wrong-doing 
ever could enlist our sympathies on behalf of 
the wrong-doer, I think it might be in a case 
like this, when a man having spent his all to 
compass his object finds at the last that it 
eludes his grasp ; when having staked every- 
thing he possesses on the success of some 



122 The EarPs Promise, 



villanous trick in the game of life, his 
intended victim, at a moment least expected, 
says " Checkmate " and leaves him to curse 
the board whereon his best designs, his longest- 
matured schemes, have been defeated. 

On Mr. Brady the news of his enemy being 
at the last moment delivered out of his hands, 
fell with such a shock that at first he could 
not realize the depth of his own disappoint- 
ment. Although the interest being paid might 
have prepared him for the settlement of the 
principal, he refused to believe his lawyers 
when they told him the whole amount had by 
some means been raised. 

To incredulity succeeded all the fury of a 
balked revenge, and in his rage he accused 
both solicitors and capitalist with having con- 
spired in General Eiley's favour against him- 
self. He declared it was through them the 
OAvner of "Woodbrook had heard of his own 
interest in the matter, to which the former 
replied by ordering him out of their office, and 
the latter remarked that if Mr. Brady did not 
put some restraint upon his tongue all trans- 
actions must end between them. 



Mr, Brady s ex- Projects. 123 

^^ I am willing to make some allowance for 
you," lie went on, " as I dare say the matter 
is as great a blow to you as it has proved a sur- 
prise to me ; but I will not have such language 
as you used just now addressed to me by any 
man living; so you can take your choice, 
either try to be civil, or else I will have done 
with you and your affairs at once and for 
ever." 

Whereupon Mr. Brady muttered something 
intended for an apology, adding in a louder 
tone, — 

'' If I only knew who has been meddling 
in my affairs I would make it pleasant. He 
would think twice before thrusting himself 
into other people's business, I can tell him ! " 

" "Well, when you find out who it is that 
has upset your plans, you can tell him what 
you like so far as I am concerned ; but, mean- 
time, I will not have you vent your temper 
on me. Eemember that for the future, sir, if 
you please." 

Whether it pleased him or not, Mr. Brady 
knew he must remember the hint, and act 



124 The EarPs Promise. 

upon it ; and, therefore, set his face homeward 
full of anger and mortification. 

This was the first severe check his plans 
had ever received, and in proportion to the 
magnitude of the venture appeared the shock 
of his failure. 

Independent altogether of his desire to 
beggar and humble a family he hated, Mr. 
Erady had looked upon "Woodbrook as the El 
Dorado whence he should in the future dig 
fortune and position. He and his friend (who, 
so far as disposition and character were con- 
cerned, might be considered a not unworthy 
match-horse even to Mr. Brady), had long pre- 
viously laid their plans, not merely for the 
acquisition of Woodbrook, but also how they 
intended to make that acquisition valuable to 
them. 

It had been proposed by Mr. Brady's co- 
adjutor to give that gentleman a share of the 
profits in consideration of his fertile brain 
having devised the scheme, and of his un- 
wearying industry being necessary to carry it 
to success. 



Mr. Brady's ex- Projects, 125 

Mr. Brady's idea, on the other hand, was by 
degrees to work the capitalist out. He had 
not decided how the feat was to be performed, 
but he was well aware that it would be an ex- 
tremely good thing for him if he could manage 
to get the whole power into his own hands. 

In the first instance he would require 
assistance, and that to a large extent, but he 
did not despair of finding himself ultimately the 
owner of, at all events, a large portion of the 
property. 

Money and revenge — these two desirable 
things he hoped to compass at a single blow — 
and now the castle of his dreams, the fairy 
palace which he had mentally erected from 
foundation to lofty pinnacle, was level with the 
dust. 

He had been beaten and by the Eileys. Who- 
ever else might realize the project he had been 
perfecting for years, Mr. Daniel Brady should 
reap no advantage from it. 

About the time when he first began to think 
of annexing Woodbrook, ^' going to the salt 
water for the benefit of sea bathino" was 



126 The EarPs Promise. 

becoming a recognized necessity even amongst 
those who had never previously thought of 
permitting their families such an indulgence. 

From inland rural districts, as well as from 
the towns great and sraiall, people came troop- 
ing for that ^^ month at the shore," which it 
was believed made weakly children strong, and 
kept healthy children strong and robust. 

Each summer Kingslough was crowded by 
visitors. Poor cottages — no matter how small 
or poor, provided they were situated close on 
the bay — were eagerly taken by those to whom 
economy was an object ; and it must have been 
plain even to a much less intelligent gentleman 
than Mr. Brady that, if the accommodation in 
Kingslough and its neighbourhood had been 
twice as great, willing guests might still be 
found to avail themselves of it. 

So far, however, no one had thought of 
building houses solely and simply for the benefit 
of season residents, and it was by a plan of 
this kind Mr. Brady hoped to make Wood- 
brook pay. 

Part of the property stretched down to the 



Mr, Brady's ex- Projects, 127 

sea. The water at that distance from Kingslough 
was represented better for bathing than that 
which washed the grey shore below Ballylough 
Abbey. The beach was of finer sand, a head- 
land stretched out into the sea sufficiently far 
to suggest the idea of erecting a quay, at which 
steamers could anchor at almost all conditions 
of the tide. The scenery was wilder and more 
beautiful than that surrounding Kingslough. 
Already there was a talk of a short sea route 
being inaugurated not merely between Scotland 
and Ireland, but between England and Ireland; 
and Mr. Brady, though he did not erect his 
castle on the strength of either English or 
Scotch money, considered it quite on the cards 
that from the great manufacturing towns in 
Lancashire, and even from Glasgow, people 
might come to spend the summer at Glendarc. 
That was the name he proposed to confer on 
the new watering-place, not because he was 
especially fond of the Glendares, but because he 
considered the title one likely to recommend 
itself to natives and foreigners alike. He had 
seen enough of English people to understand 



128 The Ear Vs Promise. 



the horror which seizes them at sight or sound 
of a long Irish name, such as Ballinascraw, for 
instance ; on the other hand, he knew the 
inhabitants of the Green Isle still retained a 
preference for words indigenous to the soil. 

The fashion of wiping out old landmarks, by 
rechristening romantic spots with prosaic 
British names, had not then begun, and he , 
would indeed have been considered an adven- 
turous man — adventurous to madness — who 
founding a settlement on the other side of the 
Channel, blew the trumpets and assembled the 
people to hear the town christened Piccadilly, 
Kensington, or Wandsworth, as is the case at 
present. 

Mr. Erady therefore decided on Glendare, 
as a name likely to wear well and find favour 
in the minds of the multitude. Lying idly on 
his oars, looking with his bodily eyes at the 
land dotted with trees, sloping so lovingly to 
the beach, — his mental sight beheld villas 
filling up the landscape, snug cottages 
scattered along the shore, a town perhaps 
climbiDg up the sides of the headland. The 



Mr. Brady s ex- Projects. 129 



vision grew more real every day. He had 
drawn his plans, he had decided from which 
quarry stone should be carted ; he had thought 
how much money he could himself afford as a 
beginning, how much and at what rate he could 
raise to complete the scheme ; pleasure-boats 
in imagination he saw drawn up on the shore, 
small gardens filled with flowers, lawns on 
which walked ladies gaily dressed, — gentlemen 
rich enough to pay long rents for convenient, 
comfortably furnished houses. There was not 
another property so suitable for the purpose as 
Woodbrook in all that part of the country ; and 
the beauty of it was that, whilst those few acres 
by the sea could be so admirably utilized, the 
domain itself might remain almost intact, the 
farms still be left as they were, the former 
tenants still permitted to pay rents to new 
owners. 

And all the while unconscious of the evil- 
eye coveting his home, his lands, his son's 
inheritance, General Eiley pursued his way, 
never imagining beggary was coming to liim 
AS fast as the feet of misfortune could bring it. 

VOL. III. K 



130 The EarPs Promise, 

Lulled into a state of fancied security — sus- 
pecting no trick, thinking of no worse trouble 
in the future than a day when the arrears 
would have to be j^aid — the old man was, by 
reason of utter ignorance, and, it may be, 
natural carelessness, drifting on rocks from 
which his ship could never have been hindered 
breaking to pieces, — when he was saved as by 
a miracle. 

What would be the ultimate end it might 
have puzzled a wiser than the General to say, 
but for a time, at least, Woodbrook was 
though not out of debt, out of danger. Every 
one connected with the matter felt nothing 
more could be done in the affair till John came 
home. 

Meantime it oozed out, as indeed no one 
strove to prevent the story doing, that Mr. 
Brady and his friend had laid a deliberate trap 
for the General, and people began to say some 
very hard things about the master of Mary- 
ville in consequence ; all the sins of his youth 
and his manhood were rehearsed, as sins will 
be on such occasions ; all the wrong he had 



Mr, Brady's ex- Projects, 131 

done in his lifetime, all the right he had left 
undone, all his errors of omission and commi|^ 
sion, all his subterfuges and tricks, his faults 
social and domestic, the grief he had caused to 
many an honest father and mother; these 
things and others like them were disinterred 
from the always open grave of the past, and 
discussed alike in mansion and cottage in the 
town of Kingslough, and in other towns, be- 
sides in the country districts throughout all 
that part. 

After a fashion, he had, up to this time, 
been making way with his fellows. His wife 
was not visited by any lady higher in rank 
than the wife of the minister who preached at 
the barn-like little meeting-house a couple of 
miles or so from Mary ville, but men of a better 
class, though of a bad way of li^dng, did'not 
object to be seen in Mr. Brady's company, and 
were willing to drink, smoke, make small bets 
and play cards with him, not merely at various 
hotels and inns in Kingslough and the other 
towns, but at his own house. 

Now there came a change, nameless, per- 

k2 



132 The EarPs Proviise, 

haps, but certain. There was no direct cut, 
^ absolute incivility, no alteration in manner 
of which it was possible to take notice, but his 
former acquaintances were always in a hurry 
when he met them, always had an engagement, 
always had to meet some one or go somewhere, 
and rarely now could find time to spend an 
hour or two in the evening at Mar^^ville. 

After all it was not right, these men opined, 
to have tried to drive the old General out of 
Woodbrook. The line must be drawn some- 
where, and Kingslough drew it at that point 
which Mr. Brady had tried to cross. 

Kingslough considered he ought to have 
refrained from meddling with a gentleman. 
Nothing could have revealed so certainly the 
taint in Mr. Brady's blood as an attempt of 
such a nature. The marquis went up at once 
in public estimation. Many persons who had 
long been wishing to change their political 
creed, since Eadical notions had begun to make 
Liberalism rather the creed of the vulgar, took 
that opportunity of tui-ning their coats. 

" It was a very fine thing of Ardmorno to 



Mr. Brady s ex- Projects, 133 

do," said Kingslough, Kilcurragh, Glenwellan, 
and the neighbouring districts. He had gone 
with General Eiley to the Bank of Ireland' 
himself, it was stated ; he had found the extra 
money required beyond what the bank would 
advance. He had written to request Mr. John 
Eiley 's presence, and arranged that his prospects 
should not suffer in consequence. In a time of 
trouble he had proved more than a friend, and 
then it was so clever of him to have found out 
that danger menaced the Kileys, and of what 
nature. 

Of course, some one must have given him a 
clue, but he followed it up to the last inch of 
thread. Then came the question, who could 
have hinted the matter to him ? 

Conjecture, which it is never possible to 
balk, guessed every likely and unlikely person 
in the county. Euniour, which is the readiest 
inventor of fiction on earth, prepared a score of 
circumstantial tales on the subject, and ran 
them through society with as much regu- 
larity as any other serial writer might. 

On the Avhole, public opinion inclined to the 



134 ^/^^ Emd^ Promise. 

belief that Mr. Dilhvyn was the person who 
had opened Lord Ardmorne's eyes. It was well 
known that when the new earl succeeded to the 
title, Mr. Brady had taken a journey in order to 
malign Mr. Dilh\yn, and secure the agency for 
himself, and so much unpleasantness had in 
consequence arisen that Mr. Somerford's step- 
father actually did resign, offered on certain 
conditions to vacate Eosemont, and expressed 
his opinion of Mr. Brady and the Glendares 
in language as remarkable for its force as its 
plainness. 

It was only at the earPs earnest entreaty he 
continued to act until another agent could be 
found. 

"And that other agent will not be Mr. 
Daniel Brady in tliis earPs time," said Mr. 
Dillwyn triumphantly, on his return from 
foreign travel — which remark clearly proved 
that the feelings he entertained towards the 
owner of Mary ville were not strictly Christian 
in their nature. 

Society at Kingslough had for. so long a 
time been accustomed to disagreements be- 



Mr, Bi^ady^s ex- Projects, 135 

tween the Glendares and their agents, that it 
had paid comparatively little attention to this 
last dispute, except to marvel whether Mr. 
Dillwyn would really go, and if so who would 
step into his shoes. But now when every one 
was anxious to know who it was that en- 
lightened Lord Ardmorne, the passage be- 
tween the agent and Mr. Brady was remem- 
bered, and a certain significance attached 
to it. 

In a word, though rumour invented and 
circulated fifty stories, this was the one to 
which people, as a rule, inclined. Mr. Brady 
himself was perhaps the only person who at- 
tached no importance to it. As at first, he be- 
lieved that either his own or his friend's lawyer, 
or his friend himself, had proved unfaithful ; so 
at last he believed that one or other of the per- 
sons with whom he was most closely connected 
by ties of interest had — by imprudence or 
of malice prepense — betrayed his plans. 

No one else, he was positive, had the 
faintest luiowledge of them. By intuition Mr. 
Dillwyn could not have guessed his tactics, and 



136 The EarPs Promise, 

it mattered little who it was that had finally 
carried the news to Lord Ardmorne, when 
once the secret escaped from the custody of 
those who ought to have held it secure. 

To discover the person who originally be- 
trayed it, suddenly became the most para- 
mount business of Mr. Brady's life, and IN'ettie 
often wondered to herself whether the best 
thing she could do might not be to run away 
to the uttermost ends of the earth, taking the 
children with her. 

^^For if he ever finds it out he certainly 
will kill me," thought the -wretched woman, 
and she thenceforth lived in a constant agony 
of fright. After all, no matter how tired a 
person may be of the business of existence, 
one would like to have a choice as to the mode 
of getting rid of the toil and the sorrow ; and 
perhaps the most repulsive way of having the 
trouble ended seems that of being murdered. 

There had been times when Nettie felt 
tempted to bring matters to a conclusion for 
herself — and that method of shortening the 
weary day now seemed luxurious by com- 



Mr. Brady's ex-Projeds. 137 

parison with, any termination which involved 
the ceremony of im mauvais quart cVlieure^ 
with Mr. Brady as an essential preliminary. 

So far as affairs at the Castle Farm were 
concerned, General Eiley's business took pre- 
cedence of Amos Scott's. Having quarrelled 
with his own solicitors, Mr. Brady had to 
carry the Scott difficulty elsewhere. Out, Mr. 
Brady was determined the farmer, his wife, 
and his children should go ; but short of pull- 
ing the house down about their ears, there 
seemed no possibility of getting rid of them ; 
and for all his braggart airs, he was not pre- 
pared to take a step of that kind if he could 
avoid doing so. 

That rough-and-ready method of ejectment, 
which found such favour in tho south and 
west, never recommended itself to the northern 
understanding. The thing has been done, of 
course : the roofs have been stripped off ; the 
windows taken out ; the doors torn from their 
hinges ; in extreme cases the very walls un- 
dermined, and the house razed with the 
ground ; but patient as the northern tempera- 



138 TJie EarPs Promise. 



ment is, I doubt if a landlord could enjoy 
much ease of mind supposing he saw a man 
like Amos Scott sitting by his naked hearth — 
with the heavens for his rooftree, and the 
wind and the rain blowing and beating on his 
head. 

Upon the whole, supposing imagination pre- 
sented the picture of such a reality, the land- 
lord's dreams — let right be on his side or 
wrong — would be of coffins and of a violent 
exit into that other world where all the vexed 
questions of this will — as we fondly hope — be 
settled to the satisfaction of the poor, the op- 
pressed, the broken-hearted. 

Curious to say, although Mr. Brady was a 
bully he was not also a coward ; which seems 
as inconsistent a statement as to say a negro is 
not black. Nevertheless, it is the truth. The 
man was not destitute of physical courage. 
He had writhed mentally under the taunts 
hurled at him by the Eileys ; but he would 
not have feared a stand-up fight with the son 
— a hand to hand struggle, with liberty given 
to each to kill if he were able. 



Mr, Brady's cx-Projeds. 139 



Nevertheless, Mr. Brady had gone almost 
as far with the Scotts as he cared to do. He 
had dug their potatoes and sold them, cut the 
grass and saved it, reaped the corn and carried 
it, sown the land with seed, that was again 
hastening to fruition; but beyond this he 
hesitated to go. The law must do the rest, he 
said ; but spite of the fact of justice being on 
his side, he found the law liked the task of 
turning Amos Scott out on the world rather 
less than he did. 

"When a bailiff came to take possession of 
the household gods, gathered together care- 
fully, anxiously, in the first part of the Scott's 
married life, he was received by husband and 
wife, one armed with a blunderbuss and the 
other with a pike, a relic of ninety-eight. 

'^ Honest man,'' said Amos, miscalling him 
in an access of civility, ^^ honest man, if ye 
want to sit down to rest ye're kindly wel- 
come ; if ye want bite or sup, we can give 
ye share of what we have ourselves, water 
and a meal bannock ; but if ye lay a finger 
on anything in this house and claim for that 



I40 The EarPs Promise. 



devil Brady I'll shoot ye dead. I've made 
Tip my mind to slay the first who meddles with 
the inside of that half-door, so if anything 
happens your Llood will be upon youi* own 
head, not upon mine." 

The result of which speech was that the man 
neither stopped nor took breath till he found 
himself in Kingslough again. There was a 
steady light in Scott's eye, and a suggestive- 
ness about the way in which he kept his 
finger on the trigger, ill-calculated to make 
visiting at the Castle Farm pleasant to a person 
of the bailiff's profession. 

Afterwards Amos declared '-'- He only meant 
to fear the man ; " but if this were so his sport 
was sufficiently like earnest to carry conviction 
with it. 

Matters had arrived at this pass, in a word : 
people whispered Scott was dangerous and 
that Mr. Brady went armed. Further, popular 
sympathy was with Scott, and the very ballad 
singers had long slips of badly printed dog- 
grel reciting the doings of Mr. Daniel Brady 
from his youth upAvards, and enlargiDg upon 



Mr. Brady's ex- Projects, 141 



the fact not only of his having " decoyed a 
lovely maiden to a land beyond the seas," but 
of his trying subsequently 

" To cajole a gallant gentleman, 
And leave liis son so poor." 

Some kind friend managed that Kettie 
should be favoured with a sight of one of 
these precious productions. 

''If he kills me one day they will sing all 
about that through the streets," she thought 
with a shiver. 

Blue eyes and golden haii', what a day's 
work you wrought when in the bright sun- 
shine you went away with Daniel Brady, 
trusting the whole future of your young life 
in his hands. 



142 



CHAPTEE VII. 

KINGSLOUGH IS PLACARDED. 

Public opinion is treacherous and unmanage- 
able as the sea. One hour a man is sitting 
high and dry watching the waves encircle 
some far away object ; the next he beholds 
them hurrying in to engulf himself. 

Once the tide sets against any person, it 
increases in volume and strength every mo- 
ment, but there are no precise means of know- 
ing when it will turn in this manner or of 
telling why it has done so. 

Past as they could flow the waters of 
popular dissatisfaction were running against 
Mr. Brady. 



Kingslough is Placarded, 143 

At a local meeting held at Glenwellan, 
which he had the courage or the hardihood to 
attend, he was hissed, whilst General Eiley's 
appearance proved the signal for loud and pro- 
longed applause. 

Some who were sufficiently indiiferent to 
both men to be able to observe accurately, 
reported that Mr. Brady turned white to the 
lips at a display of feeling so decided and so 
unexpected ; and this is sufficiently probable, 
since those who are the most ready to defy 
the opinion of their fellows are the least will- 
ing to put up with the consequences such 
defiance usually entails. 

Be this as it may, Mr. Brady a few days 
later was not greatly surprised when on offer- 
ing to transfer his business to a more scrupu- 
lous firm of solicitors than those to whom he 
had previously entrusted the conduct of his 
difficulties, the proposal was courteously but 
firmly declined. 

^'I shall live it down," thought Mr. Brady 
as he strode out of the office, his hat crushed 
a little over his brows. 



144 The EarPs Promise, 

He had said the same thing before, and he 
had done it ; hut after all, each year in a man's 
age, each upward step he has climbed, render 
that ''living down" a more difficult business 
to perform. 

It is impossible to go on having a leg broken 
and reset without becoming slightly a cripple, 
and it is more impossible still that a character 
shall go through a blackening process time 
after time and come out white in the end. 

Mr. Brady had set himself a harder task 
than he imagined when he talked of living 
down the effects of his latest error, and if he 
did not know this Nettie did; l^ettie who, 
hearing all that was going on, having read 
those ballads which found swift sale at the 
somewhat high price of one halfpenny each, 
having seen the '' dour " looks cast on her 
husband in the barn-like meeting-house, ven- 
tured to ask him if he did not think it would 
be better to sell all they possessed and remove 
to another part of the country. 

Whereupon, he turned with passionate fury, 
with the mad anger of a brutal nature, ad- 



Kings lougk is Placarded. 145 



dressing the only person who was completely 
hopelessly in his power, and reproached her 
with having been the curse of his life, the 
ruin of his prospects, the sole cause of every 
misfortune that had befallen him, 

^'I wish to God I had never set eyes on 
you," he said. *^ If I must be such a fool as 
to marry, I ought to have married some one 
who would have been a help instead of a 
burden, a woman capable of doing something 
besides bringing a tribe of fretful, delicate 
children into the world." 

'^ You ought to have married a woman, 
Daniel Brady," answered I^ettie calmly, ^^who 
the first blow you gave her would have had you 
up before the magistrate and punished for it." 

'•^ None of your insolence or it will be worse 
for you," he interrupted. 

" Who," continued ISTettie, shiinking a little 
with a physical terror which had become 
habitual, "would have insisted on having 
things suitable for herself and her children, 
and who, if you had not provided them would 
have left you." 

VOL. III. L 



146 TJie EarVs Promise. 

'-'- Perhaps you are tliinking of doing some- 
thing of the kind," he suggested with the 
demon which was in him looking threateningly 
out of his eyes. 

" No," she said wearily; ^'I do not care 
about anything for myself now, it was only for 
the children's sake I spoke ; only to get them 
away from a place where their father's sins are 
sung through the streets, where — " 

He did not let her finish the sentence. He 
struck her down where she stood, and with a 
parting piece of advice to ^^keep a quieter 
tongue in her head or it would be worse for 
her and her brats too," left the room, banging 
the door after him. 

There was nothing in this so particularly 
new as to astonish Nettie. She was not much 
hurt, but as she raised herself slowly to a 
sitting position, she put her hand to her head 
with a gesture as of one suffering some cruel 
pain. 

'^How long," she murmured, ^' how long 
can I bear it ? God grant me strength to 
endure to the end. If mothers could foresee 



Kinorslouo/i is Placarded, 147 



%i> "^ <b 



•what ^Deliver us from eviP may some 
day come to mean, tliey might hope their 
habies would never live to learn a prayer." 

Mr. Brady's mother it may reasonably be 
supposed had been tempted to indulge in 
somewhat similar thoughts before death con- 
siderately removed her from a contemplation of 
her son's demerits ; and certainly public opinion 
had so rapidly discovered all the shortcomings 
of the owner of Maryville that it was tacitly 
admitted, (so far as human judgment could 
understand), if he had never been born it'would 
have been better for him and all belonging to 
him. 

One of the effects of this widely -spread 
prejudice against a man who, determined to 
rise by his own efforts, had certainly spared 
no pains in the attempt, was that from having 
his wrongs comparatively speaking overlooked 
Amos Scott became at once a popular and dis- 
tinguished individual. Letters were sent to 
certain newspapers on the subject of tenant- 
right, in which Scott's case was mentioned. 
Leaders were written referring directly to the 

T ^ 



148 The EarPs Promise, 

still unsettled dispute at the Castle Farm, 
and indirectly to the attempt of one of the 
disputants to appropriate the inheritance of a 
gentleman of whom the county was deservedly 
proud. 

Mr. Brady threatened to proceed against 
the proprietor of one of the Kilcurragh papers 
unless an apology were inserted, but the pro- 
prietor inserted no apology, and no proceedings 
were instituted. A man who has a whole 
county against him may well be excused for 
dreading the cross-examination of an Irish 
barrister, and this man dreaded it with a 
wholesome horror, and was discreet accord- 
ingly. 

All this time Amos Scott was retailing his 
grievances to lawyer after lawyer, walking 
many miles to ^^ get speech " of gentlemen he 
thought might take his part, and get him his 
rights as he called them. 

He would be off early in the morning — a 
piece of oat- cake, or griddle bread, in the 
pocket of his home-spun blue frieze coat, 
and he would come home at night foot-sore 



Kingslough is Placarded. 149 

and weary, having broken his fast with no 
other food save that mentioned, washed down 
by a draught of water from some way-side 
brook, too tired to eat, too sick at heart to 
sleep. 

For all men were in the same story. Whether 
they expressed sorrow for his misfortunes or 
told him by their manner his affairs were no 
concern of theirs, Ihe result proved identical. 
Nothing could be done in the matter. No 
money — no influence — no lapse of time — no 
amount of trouble could undo the evil brought 
by that promise which the Earl had forgotten 
almost as soon as made. 

Lawyers of course took a prosaic view of 
the affair, and simply assured Scott there was 
no use in throwing good money after bad; that 
he had no case, and they could not make one for 
him; whilst even those private individuals 
who commiserated him most, could not refrain 
from expressing wonderment at the utter 
simplicity which caused him to take no 
manner of precaution for his own safety in the 
transaction. 



150 The Eaidh Promise. 



^'What would you have had me do, sir?'^ 
lie asked one gentleman piteouslj. '^What 
more did I want than Th' AirPs word ? Sure, if 
I had told him I'd do a thing, that would have 
been as good as any bond, and me only a poor 
man labouring with my hands to keep me and 
my wife and the family. 

^' Says Th' Airl to me, says he, 

'''- ^ The land's yours for three lives longer, and 
you can put in one of the three for yourself.' 

^^So then I asked him, would I take the 
money on to the agent, and he says, 

'^ ^ No, you may give it to me.' 

^^And I counted the notes into his own 
hand. I mind how the sun shone on a ring 
he had on his finger while I was doing it. 
Then I asked him about the writings, and he 
said, they couldn't be signed till Hemy the 
young airl came of age, but that if Lady Jane 
died before he did so, he would see me safe. 

'' He was riding off when he tui-ned, and said, 

^^ ^ I suppose though, my good fellow, you arc 
on the right side, because if not, I must give 
you back your money, and let somebody that 
have the renewal.' 



Ki7igslough is Placarded, 151 

''He said it joking like. He was always 
free and pleasant in his way Th' Airl." 

A simple enough narrative, which no one 
who heard it doubted the truth of for a 
moment. A narrative which was recited by 
many a stump orator of the day, and stirred 
the hearts of thousands who were or who 
imagined themselves to be labouring under 
injustice as great and as irremediable. 

Simple as it was, however, no human being 
could persuade Amos Scott that any of his 
listeners perfectly understood it. Had even 
one amongst the number done so, he felt quite 
satisfied he should hear no more said about his 
defiance being worse than useless. 

"If I could only make yer honour com- 
prehend it," he said reproachfully, though 
respectfully, to Lord Ardmorne's agent, who 
spite of his having, as he assured Amos over 
and over again, nothing whatever to do with 
the Glendares or their tenants, had been seized 
upon by the farmer for help and sympathy, 
" you would see it as I see it." 

"Mr. Scott," answered the agent solemnly, 



152 The EarPs Promise. 

^^ if I could only make you comprehend it, you 
would see how hopeless your position is." 

"When, however, did argument or assertion 
convince an obstinate, uneducated man. If 
such a miracle were ever wrought by earthly 
means, it was not in the case of the poor 
misguided farmer who wandered about the 
country seeking help from this one and that, 
discoursing about his wrongs in lonely cabins, 
telling his grievances to chance companions, 
wasting his slender means in feeing such 
lawyers as would take his money, and in 
providing food for such of his family as were 
still at home. 

David had returned Miss Moffat's loan to 
that young lady with a characteristic note, in 
which, after thanking her for her goodness and 
telling her how troubled in his mind he was to 
hear of the master's death, he went on to say 
how grateful he should be in case she had no 
need of the money if she would lend it to his 
next oldest brother, who was mad to join him." 
And now two of the sons were in America, two 
of the daughters in service, and Eeuben read}- 



Kingslongh is Placarded. 153 

to take a schoolmaster's place when the old 
people could spare him. 

" But I cnn't leave them yet, Miss Grace," 
he wrote. "I am not much use here, I 
know; but still I can speak a word to the 
father when he comes home at night, and the 
mother is too heartsore to ask him ' what 
luck ?' She is keen on now for us to start for 
America, but the father won't hear talk of it. 
David sent her home a pound two months ago, 
and another last week ; a man who went out 
from these parts twenty years since, and who 
has never been in Ireland again till now, 
brought it, and some odds and ends of presents, 
amongst other thiugs a walking-stick that we 
often say would have just pleased the master ; 
it is so light, though so big ; it is made from 
the root of the vine, Mr. Moody says, and 
seems wonderful handy for almost any purpose. 
He tells us America is the poor man's country, 
and it seems like it. He Avcnt away with as 
little as any of us, and he has come home 
dressed like a gcmtleman, with gold studs in 
his shirt, and a gold watch and chain, and not 



154 The EarPs Promise. 



a word of Irish in his tongue. It is just won- 
derful to hear how like a native-born Ame- 
rican he talks. He tried to persuade my 
father to leave Avhat he calls the ^rotten old 
ship ' and make for ' new diggins,' but my 
father bid him not talk about things he has 
no knowledge of, and the decent man went 
away, offended like." 

But in this Eeuben Scott chanced to be 
mistaken ; Mr. Moody did not cease visiting at 
the Castle Farm because he was offended with 
its owner. He only did so as he chanced 
to remark to an acquaintance, because he 
never had cared for society where ^'pistols 
and bowie knives were lying about, and he 
guessed there would be one or the other at 
work before Scott moved away from his clear- 
ing." 

Affairs had arrived at this pass when Mr. 
Brady, finding the law in his own province 
slow to assist him, decided on going to Dub- 
lin and seeking counsel there. 

Not having confined to his own bosom the 
purport of this journey, the Kingslough rabble 



Kingsloitgh is Placarded. 155 

got hold of it, and decided that an auspicious 
time for giving public expression to their feel- 
ings had arrived. 

A meeting therefore was convened to take 
place on the day of Mr. Brady's departure, 
when it was decided that gentleman should be 
hung in effigy, and a scaffold for this laudable 
purpose was actually in course of erection, 
Avhen an extremely strong hint from the ma- 
gistrates stopped its further progress. IN'ot to 
be defeated, however, within twenty-four hours 
Kingslough and its neighbourhood was startled 
from its propriety by the sight of monster 
bills, which- occupied every available space 
where it was possible to placard the announce- 
ment, stating that the body of Mr. Daniel Brady 
would be removed from Somerford Street to 
its place of interment on the following day, 
at four o'clock p.m., when the attendance of 
friends would be esteemed a favour. 

Now Somerford Street — not an inconsider- 
able thorouglifarc in the early days of Bally- 
lough — had by a not infrequent turn of times' 
wheel become one of the lowest, dirtiest, most 



156 The EarPs Promise. 

disreputable lanes in Kingslougli — a lane where 
vice and filth caroused in wretched fashion 
together ; where sin and misery waved their 
rags in defiance of law and decency ; whence 
respectability fled as from the plague ; where 
vshame, remorse, repentance, hope, could not 
exist for an hour, save it might be — and some- 
times God be praised it was — for a few hours 
in the last extremity. 

To condense the whole matter into a sen- 
tence, Somerford Street was as bad a street as 
could have been found even in the Liberties of 
Dublin, and its inhabitants were a s little like 
men, women, and children, as men, women, 
and children can ever be. It was a place 
which, even in its own small way, need not 
have been afraid to hold up its head with very 
much more notorious courts and lanes London 
is sufficiently blessed to reckon within a cer- 
tain area of Charing Cross at the present day ; 
and it was from this den, inhabited by vice 
and misery, that Mr. Brady's obsequies were 
announced to take place. 

What did it mean ? Kingslough asked itself 



Kingslough is Placai'dcd. 157 

in a dull, stupid, inconsequent sort of 
way. 

In a few hours more Kingslough knew, for 
over the first bills were pasted a second series 
so scurrilous, so profane, that nowhere out of 
the Isle of Saints could so scandalous a broad- 
sheet have been produced. 

They were not torn down. Decent people 
did not care to be mixed up in such an affair ; 
the authorities were averse to acting in the 
matter without advice and consultation, and 
perhaps feared, as authorities in great cities 
have since unwisely feared, to make mountains 
out of molehills by premature interference. 

So Kingslough read, and held up its hands, 
or gravely shook its head, or passed on with- 
out sign, or smiled with grim approval of the 
atrocious bill, or expressed its sympathy in 
drunken words full of significance, and looks 
more significant still. 

It was the early summer time. Once again 
the crops were springing and ripening at the 
Castle Farm. Crops not sown this time by 
Amos or one belonging to him; and it was 



158 TJie EarPs Promise. 



light in that northern latitude so soon in the 
morning, that to get out in the grey dawn 
almost involved sitting up during the few 
hours of the short night. 

^Nevertheless, in the grey dawn some one was 
astir tearing down those disgraceful placards. 
Slowly and calmly the sea came rippling in on 
the shore, closely the blinds were drawn on 
the Parade and in the houses of Glendare 
Terrace, in the east there was still not a 
glimpse of the rising sun, whilst rapidly and 
nervously the flitting figure did its work. 

All at once a burly brute, who, having busi- 
ness far away at an early hour had risen be- 
times, turned a corner suddenly, and caught 
sight of a dark figure engaged in the work of 
destruction. With a whoop and a shout he 
rushed forward ; with a shriek the woman, for 
it was a woman, fled. 

Swift as she was he gained upon her; she 
left the rough pavement and sped like a grey- 
hound along the more level road, all in vain. 
Panting, sobbing, she heard the thud of his 
heavy shoes almost at her heels, felt in imagi- 



Kingslough is Placarded. 159 



nation his hand on her shoulder, when suddenly 
turning the corner of a street to try to escape 
him, she fell almost into the arms of a third 
person, who, in less time than it takes me to 
write the words, had planted a good serviceable 
blow between the eyes of her pursuer, and sent 
him sprawling in the gutter. 

" Mrs. Brady," he said, turning to the 
apparition which had so suddenly greeted his 
vision, ^^what in Heaven's name has brought 
you here at this time of night ? " 

'-^ I — " she began in a broken husky voice, 
" I heard of it all and came," at which point 
she gave up trying to explain, and dropped 
down in a heap on the nearest doorstep in- 
sensible. 

" Here is a delightful complication," thought 
Mr. Hanlon as he looked first at the burly 
brute just gathering himself together, and 
skulking off with a look of ineffable hate over- 
spreading his countenance, and then at Mrs. 
Erady, whose light figure he supported with 
one hand while fumbling for his latch-key 
with the other. 



i6o The EarPs P> 



romise. 



Had tlie gift of second sight been voucliafed 
to that clever surgeon and mistaken orator, he 
would have fled from Kingslough within an 
hour more swiftly than Lot did from the 
Cities of the Plain, to avoid being mixed up 
with the evil to come. 



i6i 



OHAPTEE VIII. 

BAD NEWS. 

Passing through Kingslough en route from 
India to "Woodbrook, Mr. John Eiley was so 
fortunate as to obtain a good view of the vaga- 
bond procession that accompanied Mr. Brady's 
effigy to its resting-place; and perhaps that 
gentleman had never felt so little proud of his 
countrymen as when — his driver compelled to 
draw the horse on one side and halt, in order 
to allow the rabble to pass — he beheld a crowd 
composed of the very scum of the population 
marching in irregular fashion to the noise made 
by several cows' -horns, a fife, a drum, and a 
fiddle, the latter musical instrument being 

VOL. III. M 



1 62 The EarPs Promise, 

played by a blind man seated in a rickety 
cart, to which, with sundry broken leathern 
straps and stronger pieces of rope, a half- 
starved donkey was harnessed. 

There they came, the lowest of the low, 
accompanied by women who looked as though 
they had lost every attribute of their sex, and 
were indeed only human because of their utter 
abject misery. On they came, most of them 
women, ragged, bonnetless, shoeless, and stock- 
ingless, clad in dirt as in a garment; their 
masses of unkempt, uncared-for hair, twisted 
into loose untidy coils at the back of their 
heads ; a terrible sight to one who had almost 
forgotten such a sight was to be seen. Nor 
were the men one whit better, shambling along 
in old shoes never made for them, with torn 
coats or jackets, with trousers from which 
every trace of the original cloth had vanished, 
with hats and caps of every conceivable form, 
battered, rimless, napless, or ragged, with tufts 
of hair in some instances shooting like rank grass 
through holes in the crown, with faces always 
wild, reckless, haggard, now lit up with an 



Bad News. 163 



almost demoniac excitement. On they came, 
cheering, cursing, singing, shouting, followed 
pell-mell by all the rosy-cheeked, fair-haired, 
bare-legged, bare-footed, dirty -faced children 
in the town, who danced after the procession 
right merrily. Some there were better clothed 
than those composing the mass of the crowd : 
men with sedate faces and unmended coats and 
sound shoes, who looked as though they gave 
their presence as a solemn duty, but who were 
careful to keep on the sidepaths, and allow the 
unwashed multitude in the roadway as wide a 
berth as possible. 

In the middle of the people, borne on the 
shoulders of four stalwart ruffians, was the so- 
called corpse; a door torn from its hinges 
serving the purpose of a bier, and a piece of 
sacking answering for a pall. 

A hideous spectacle altogether ; but then as 
now there was no particular reason why the 
innocent diversions of the masses should be 
interfered with. 

^^ What are they doing — what does it mean 
— what is it all about ? " asked Mr. Eiloy of 
his driver. m 2 



164 The EarPs Pro7?iise. 

^' Don't keep your face turned their way," 
answered the man in a hurried whisper. ^' If 
they even* who you are they'll be wantin' 
to chair you. It's burying Brady's effigy all 
this is about. Come, now, keep your distance 
all of you," he continued, addressing some 
irrepressible beggars, who, seeing a stranger, 
at once appealed to him for help, and with 
scant ceremony he began using his whip to 
right and left, and so kept the most importu- 
nate at bay till the procession had passed. 

" What has Mr. Brady been doing now ? " 
asked Mr. Eiley with some curiosity, as they 
drove on once more. 

" Nothin' much fresh, yer honour ; but 
they've taken a hathred to him, and wanted 
to hang him, but the magistrates woulchi't let 
them put up a gallows, so now they're goin' to 
bury him on the sea-shore. He's away to Dublin 
to get all the law money can buy against Amos 
Scott, and that has stirred them up a bit." 

Meantime the crowd surged on to the beach, 
which the receding tide had left bare, and 

* Guess. 



Bad News. 165 



across the shore still wet and glistening, 
through pools of water, over slippery bunches 
of seaweed, the bearers went, stumbling and 
staggering, whilst the band playing more lu- 
gubrious airs than ever led the way, and 
the men and the women and the children 
followed hooting, laughing, screaming. 

Arrived at the extremest distance from 
high-water mark it was possible to reach, a 
hole was dug and the body tossed in. The 
most voluble member of the assemblage then 
mounted the donkey-cart, and with a sheet 
wrapped round him to imitate a surplice, pro- 
ceeded to deliver a travesty of the Burial Ser- 
vice over the grave. In language as deficient 
of ordinary decency as it was full of horrible 
profanity, he recounted the history of Daniel 
Brady from his cradle to his grave, and 
narrated to an admiring audience the way of 
life chosen by this man whose loss they had to 
deplore. A few there were among the by- 
standers possessed of courage enough to cry 
'' Shame ! " at passages more than usually 
ribald and impious, but their voices were 



1 66 The EarPs P> 



romise. 



drowned by shrieks of laughter, by cheers and 
exclamations of appreciation. 

When the merriment had reached its height, 
however, a man came picking his steps over the 
shore, and making his way a little into the 
crowd, shouted, ^' Silence ! " in a tone that rang 
high above the clamour, and seemed to 
wander out like the dying sound of a clarion's 
note over the quiet sea. 

'^ "We can't have any more of this," he said. 
^' Eobert Sweeney take off that rag and get out 
of the cart. Mcllwrath, I am astonished to see 
a respectable man like you countenancing such 
disgraceful proceedings. Be off home all of you. 
I shall not allow you to stay here another 
minute." 

" You'll let us cover the poor fellow up snug, 
or the tide '11 be taking him a dance?" entreated 
one man with a squint and short of an arm. 

"Be quick about it then/' was the answer, and 
the sand was shovelled in, and then trodden 
down by heavy boots, each by-stander who 
wore such articles giving the grave a hearty 
kick, even the women left the prints of theii' 



Bad Neii)s. 167 



feet on the surface ; and then Mr. Sweeney hav- 
ing laconically disposed of both body and soul 
in a sentence it is unnecessary to transcribe, but 
which restored thorough good humour amongst 
the cowed and sullen assemblage, — the people 
straggled off, leaving the constabulary officer 
alone. 

^^It was better to let them finish their 
work/' he said to himself as he paced slowly 
by the water's edge, looking after the retreating 
rabble, ^'or we should have had the thing 
tossing in and out with every tide. After all, 
Mr. Brady," he went on, '4f straws do show 
how the wind blows, I should not particularly 
care to stand in your shoes to-day." 

Of the scene which greeted his arrival in 
Kingslough, Mr. Eiley wrote a vivid description 
to his old friend Mrs. Hartley; nothing could 
have pleased that lady better. She felt de- 
lighted that his first letter from Woodbrook 
should be one she could show Miss Moffat. 

Handing it over to that young lady, she said, 
'-'- Here is an Irish sketch drawn by a native. 
It is certainly not complimentary to your 



1 68 The EarPs Promise, 

favourites. Eead the letter, it will amuse 
you." 

But as Grace read, her face betokened any- 
thing rather than amusement ; and when she 
finished, she folded it up and remarked, — 

^' I think Mr. Eiley's taste in writing that 
letter open to question." 

"You should try and excuse his want of 
appreciation, Grace ; remember he has laboured 
under the disadvantage of living many years 
in another country and amongst other people." 

"It is of very little consequence whether I 
excuse him or not, I imagine, "replied Miss 
Moffat. She had not yet seen this man returned 
from foreign parts. Mrs. Hartley had been 
visited by him in London, and reported that 
he was much changed in every respect. 

In what way this change exhibited itself, 
Grace did not care to inquire. That he had 
not come home to be at her beck and call, 
she perfectly understood from Mrs. Hartley's 
manner of saying, — 

" He begged me to give his kind regards to 
Miss Moffat if she had not quite forgotten an 
old acquaintance." 



Bad News. 169 



rrom that day it was a noticeable thing, 
Miss Moffat never spoke of him as John. 

The old familiar name, retained almost nn- 
conscionsly through years, was laid aside and 
Mr. Eiley took its place. Of course, he could 
know nothing of what she had done for him 
and his. Hcfw she had offered her money to 
save Woodbrook. How she had looked for- 
ward to seeing him once again with a mingled 
feeling of pleasure and pain, and it was right, 
quite right, he should look upon and think of 
her almost as a stranger. 

''A lover never can be a friend," she 
thought a little bitterly. ^* He never is able 
to forget having been refused," which is not 
perhaps so unnatural as Grace seemed inclined 
to imagine. 

And now came this letter ; ah ! the John 
she remembered never would have written 
such an one — never could, she might have 
conceded. 

His proclivities had always of course been 
towards Toryism, but he was not hard against 
the people ; he knew their faults, but he loved 



170 The EarPs Promise, 

their virtues; and now the first day lie returned 
lie could write an account of what he saw, 
and turn the very sins of the Irish into 
ridicule. 

Further, he never once mentioned Nettie, 
although it was her husband's effigy he beheld 
borne along by the populace, and he said 
little about Woodbrook and the state in which 
he found affairs ; of Lucy's marriage the only 
mention he made was a remark to the effect 
that, following the traditions of the family, 
she having no fortune had cast her lot with a 
husband who had no fortune either. 

Altogether Grace felt far from satisfied. 
Mr. Eiley recently returned from India, and 
John — dear old John of the happy days at 
Bayview — were two very different persons. On 
the whole Miss Moffat felt grateful to Lord 
Ardmorne for arranging the "Woodbrook 
mortgage without any great amount of help 
from her. 

'^It might have made it very awkward," 
she considered. '-'- He might have fancied it 
necessary to be civil to me in consequence." 



Bad News. 171 



And this as matters ' stood, Mr. John Eiley 
evidently did not imagine necessary. 

At the end of his letter, he begged to send 
his kind regards to Miss Moffat. That was all. 
Xo sentence about Bayview, no reference to 
the places both of them knew so well. To 
Miss Moffat it was rather a new feeling 
that of being left out in the cold, and she did 
not like it. 

Mr. Eiley 's letter, however, supplied her 
with food for reflection besides that enume- 
rated. 

Hitherto Grace had merely known vaguely 
that Mr. Erady was an undesirable acquaint- 
ance, a man fond of driving hard bargains, of 
overreaching his neighbours if he could ; a man 
of whom his wife stood in dread, of whom the 
world had nothing to tell which redounded to 
his credit, but now all these sins and short- 
comings wore italicized in her mind, and a 
dread of some great evil befalling Nettie in 
consequence of the information she had given 
began to haunt her night and day. 

She was totally in the power of this man 



172 The EarPs Promise. 



whom the people vilified; whose effigy they 
had carried through the streets, and buried with 
every act of contumely they could devise. She 
was, though in her own country, friendless, 
penniless, helpless. 

She had dared much in order to save those 
who, though her own relatives, formerly dis- 
carded her ; and this very courage and forget- 
fulness of wrongs in a great extremity helped 
to recommend Nettie more tenderly than 
ever to her old friend. 

What could she do to make matters better 
for her ? Even in the solitude of her own cham- 
ber, Grace blushed and winced to think all 
she could offer any one was money ; but still 
believing the day might come when Nettie 
would need it, she sat down and wrote her a 
long touching letter, saying how hurt she 
felt to hear of some recent events just come to 
her knowledge ; how she di^eaded lest evil 
might arise out of past cii'cumstances, to which 
she need not refer more particularly ; how 
she begged and implored her if evil did arise to 
come at once to England and the writer. In a 



Bad Neim. 173 



postscript Grace added that, lest she should at 
any time want money on a sudden emergency, 
she enclosed sufficient to meet whatever ex- 
igency might arise. 

This letter she enclosed in one to Mr. Han- 
Ion, begging him to give it into the hands of 
the person to whom it was addressed. 

As she did so, Grace could not help smiling, 
and yet sighing at the memory of her Pha- 
risaism when first Nettie devised this mode 
of communication. 

" Ah ! I did not know so much then as I do 
now," thought Miss Moffat, speaking mentally, 
as is the habit of young ladies of small ex- 
perience and limited worldly knowledge, as if 
she were about seventy years of age. 

To this letter, after some delay, came an 
answer. 

Nettie returned the money. She dared not 
keep it, she said, or she would have done so. 
She should never have a moment's peace were 
it in the house, lest it might be discovered. 
Earnestly, though in few words, she thanked 
Grace for all her kindness ; but " do not 



174 '^^^^ EarPs Promise, 

write to me again," she added, "it is too great 
a risk to run. If ever you are able to help 
me, I wiil let you know. I never can doubt 
you or forget the pleasant days that may 
come again no more for ever. If I never see 
you in this world again, remember Gracie I 
love you far, far, more at last than I did at the 
first. I did not think I could cry, no matter 
what came or went ; and yet still as I write 
good-bye, the words are blotted with tears." 

The days went on, and Mrs. Hartley and 
Grace were planning an autumn tour, with a 
half-formed intention of lengthening their 
foreign travel by going on to Eome and 
wintering in the Eternal City. 

To Grace the idea was very pleasant. To 
Mrs. Hartley the prospect, much as she valued 
English luxuries and prized home comforts, 
not disagreeable. 

" I should not go unless you were with me," 
she said, however, to her visitor ; and Grace 
pressed her hand in reply. 

The two women were exactly suited to each 
other. Mrs. Hartley's unvarying cheerfulness ; 



Bad News. 175 



her sound common sense ; her abundant 
worldly knowledge; her stores of information; — 
these things were very good for a young 
woman like Grace, who was naturally some- 
what dreamy and imaginative, and whose 
experiences of society, of men and women, and 
manners and morals, were, notwithstanding her 
feeling that she had been living and learning 
through centuries, had hitherto been limited 
to an extremely small circle. 

On the other hand, Grace was the very 
person with whom to live happily. There were 
no wills and musts in her nature ; she had no 
ways of her own that she insisted upon other 
people travelling ; she was amiable, generous, 
frank, and gentle-mannered, and, to crown all 
her other excellences, she was, as Mrs. Hartley 
said, as good as a picture to look at. 

To women whose day, if they ever had one, 
is over, who have ceased to compete for those 
prizes of love and admiration which all women 
are anxious to secure, even though they may 
not put themselves forward in the struggle, 
there is something extremely pleasant in the 



176 The EarPs Promise. 

contemplation of a pretty face, and Grace's 
face was grateful to Mrs. Hartley's critical eyes. 

^^ I wonder what John would think of her 
nowj" she often asked herself. ^^ "Would he 
fear to make a second attempt to win her, or 
dare I hope all may come right in the end. 
She is the wife for him, he is the husband for 
her, if they both can only be induced to think 
so. I must contrive to get him to join us 
somehow abroad," which was indeed the secret 
reason for Mrs. Hartley's advocacy of the 
foreign tour and her hesitation on the subject 
of Eome. 

''Eome is a long way off," she argued, 
" but we shall see what we shall see ; time 
enough to settle about where we shall winter 
when the autumn comes." 

Things as regards Grace were in this tran- 
quil state, when one afternoon, while Mrs. 
Hartley was out on a visiting expedition, 
from which her guest had begged to be 
excused. Miss Moffat, seated in a low chair 
by the window of her own especial sanctum, 
a small morning room which had been fitted 



Bad A^ews. 177 



up for and appropriated to her use, took 
the ' Times ' that chanced to be lying close to 
her hand. 

It was a warm day, one of those glorious 
summer afternoons so frequent in England, 
which are trying nevertheless to those born 
and bred in a colder climate, and Grace, tired 
and languid, let her eyes wander over the 
sheet, reading nothing in particular, but cull- 
ing a paragraph here and another there with 
a sort of lazy and unexcited interest. 

Suddenly, however, something met her 
sight which riveted her attention; she 
grasped the paper more firmly, she sat upright 
instead of leaning back ; she pushed her hair 
away from her face as though it oppressed her, 
and then read the passage which had caught 
her notice once again more carefully. This 
was what it contained, — 

" A shocking murder is reported as having 
taken place in the north of Ireland, hitherto 
comparatively free from the charge of agrarian 
outrage. The victim is a Mr. Brady, a gentle- 
man of some property, and connected by 

VOL. III. N 



j^S The EarVs Promise, 



marriage with several families of ancient 
lineage and high standing. The unfortunate 
gentleman was discovered about a mile from 
his own house quite dead, though still warm. 
A dispute about some land is supposed to have 
urged on his murderer. A man named Scott 
has been taken into custody ; a stick with 
which the fatal blow was dealt, and known to 
have belonged to Scott, having been found 
near the spot. The unfortunate gentleman 
had not yet reached the prime of life. He 
leaves a widow and several children to deplore 
his untimely fate." 

There are truths so terrible that the mind 
at first absolutely refuses to accept them, and 
like one in a dream with a stunned surprise, 
Grace Moffat read and re-read the paragraph, 
unable to realize its meaning. 

Then suddenly the full horror of its state- 
ment broke upon her. It had come, then, this 
trouble, the prevision of which she now under- 
stood she had felt that morning when she and 
Mr. Hanlon walked over to the Castle Farm. 
It had come at a moment when she was least 



Bad Neii}s. 179 



prepared for it, when her thoughts were far 
distant from Ireland ; when, much as she loved 
her own country, she was becoming reconciled 
to the ways and manners of another country ; 
when she was learning to like English people, 
and beginning, as the young always can do, to 
find an interest in the hopes, fears, and projects 
of those with whom she was thrown. 

How the next half-hour was passed Grace 
never precisely knew. The servants, glad in 
that orderly household of an excitement of any 
kind, prepared and retailed many versions of 
how MaiTables — Mrs. Hartley's highly re- 
spectable butler, who had a presence like a 
bishop and a face solemn and important as that 
of a parish clerk — hearing the bell ring vio- 
lently hurried to the morning-room, where he 
found Miss Mofiat standing in the middle of 
the apartment looking like death itself ; how 
surprised out of his dignified deportment for 
once, he said before he was spoken to, — 

'-'- Gracious ! Miss, what has haj^pened, and 
what is the matter ? " 

To which she replied, — ^^ Get me something;. 

N 2 



i8o The EarPs Promise. 

I have had a great shock." He fetched her 
wine and the housemaid water, and the lady's 
maid smelling-salts and eau-de-cologne and a 
fan ; whilst the butler suggested the propriety 
of sending at once for a doctor. 

"No," said Miss Moffat authoritatively, "I 
shall be better soon ;" and she sat down and 
leaned back and shut her eyes, the trio re- 
garding her with interest, not unmixed with 
awe the while. 

Then almost directly she opened her eyes, 
and looking at them one after the other, re- 
marked, — 

" It is not true, is it ? " 

" No, Miss," answered Marrables promptly ; 
his acquaintance with illness was slight, but 
he had always heard sick people ought to be 
humoured. 

" Ah ! I forgot," said Miss Moffat wearily. 
" Pour me out some wine and water, Marrables, 
I will take it now; and Taylor," turning ta 
Mrs. Hartley's maid, " I wish you would pack 
up some dresses and linen for me ; I must go 
to Ireland to-night." 



Bad News. i8i 



" Yes, Miss." 

'^ And directly Mrs. Hartley returns let me 
know.'' 

^' Mrs. Hartley is here now," exclaimed 
Marrables, and went out to meet his mistress, 
followed reluctantly by his fellow-servants. 

Into the room came Mrs. Hartley dressed 
in all her bravery, with a face expressive of the 
utmost anxiety. 

'-'• What is all this, Grace, that Marrables has 
been frightening me with ? Why, child, 
what has happened ? You look as if you had 
seen a ghost." 

For answer, Grace picked up the ^ Times ' 
and handed it to her friend, pointing out the 
paragraph she wished her to read. Marrables 
saw her do it, and it was not long before he 
had read the passage also. 

'' What are you thinking of doing?" asked 
Mrs. Hartley, drawing her out into the open 
air, and holding a parasol over her. 

" I shall go to Ireland to-night," Grace 
answered. 

" For what purpose ?" 



1 82 The Ec 

" Chiefly to be with Nettie, partly to see if 
anything can be done for Amos." 

'-'' You think he is guilty." 

^^ I do not see that there can be any doubt 
of that. He must have been mad ; but I sup- 
pose whether mad or not he will have to suffer 
for it all the same." 

Mrs. Hartley paused. She took in the po- 
sition at once ; she knew Grace's temperament, 
and she felt certain she would never rest con- 
tent to remain inactive at such a juncture. 

" Money can do a great deal," she remarked 
at last, " and influence more ; and in any case 
I know it will be a comfort hereafter for you 
to think both were brought to bear on this 
case. Yes, my love, I will not say a word to 
dissuade you from your intention; I would 
offer to go with you myself if I thought I 
could be of any real assistance. Marrables shall 
accompany you as far as Dublin — there Mr. 
Mcholson can see to you. And, Grace, do not 
fret about the matter more than you can pos- 
sibly avoid. A loophole may be found for 
Scott to creep through, and as for Nettie, I 



Bad News. 183 



fancy she will be far happier as a widow than 
ever she was as a wife." 

" Oh ! do not say that," Grace entreated. 
'- ' It was almost the first idea which occurred to 
me, and I hated myself for it." 

'' Well, we Avill not say anything about it 
then," . agreed Mrs. Hartley, '^although if 
he has left her comfortably off — " but 
here Miss Moffat stopped her ears and refused 
to listen. She was recovering from the first 
effect of the blow, but she could not bear to 
hear the tragedy discussed in this matter-of- 
fact, cool, business-like style. 

Young people are occasionally somewhat 
unreasonable. It jarred against Grace's sen- 
sibilities to hear some two hours later the 
dinner-bell ring just as though Mr. Brady 
were not lying at Maryville stiff and cold, 
and Amos Scott not in Kilcurragh Gaol 
charged with his murder. Perhaps Mrs. 
Hartley guessed something of this, for she 
said, — 

" [N'ow, Grace, unless you cat I shall not 
allow you to go. Fasting may be all very 



184 The EarPs Promise. 



well in its way, and I dare say it is, but it is 
not well when a young lady has a long journey 
before her, and the prospect of a considerable 
amount of work to follow." 

Hearing which remark Mr. Marrables, who 
waited upon the ladies with his accustomed 
dignity, took especial care to fortify his 
system with a thorough good meal, and to 
provide against any casualties in the way of 
starvation by packing up a goodly supply of 
edibles, and laying the cellar likewise under 
contribution to a moderate though judicious 
extent. 

After all, if the English are unimpulsive, 
they are useful; if they are undemonstrative, 
they are not heartless. Grace was forced to 
admit both these facts when she discovered 
everything she could possibly require packed up 
without a question being asked on the subject ; 
when she found her travelling-dress laid out for 
her to don before dinner that she might not be 
obliged to hurry from table ; when she saw the 
carriage brought round to a second, and 'beheld 
Marrables, after he had shut her and Mrs. 



Bad News. i8s 



Hartley within, mount on the box beside the 
coachman with no more fuss than if he were 
merely going to attend his mistress to the 
station ; when she heard Mrs. Hartley, who, as 
a rule, did not like shortening her meals, 
remark, — 

^^Now, my dear, I think it is time we 
were putting on our bonnets," and go off to 
prepare for a twelve miles' drive as if it 
were in the ordinary course of things for 
an elderly lady to consider her own ease so 
little. 

These things all impressed Grace sensibly, 
as did one other little trifle. At the last 
moment it was discovered that by some over- 
sight Miss Moffat's warm shawl had been left 
behind. 

^^ Fetch my cloak out of the brougham," 
said Mrs. Hartley immediately, and, spite of 
her guest's remonstrances, she insisted on 
Grace taking it with her. 

^^ Such magnificence!" exclaimed Miss 
Moffat, looking at the fur lining and the 
satin outside. 



1 86 The EarPs Prouiise, 



'' Nonsense ; it is old and worn, and shabby, 
but it "will keep you warm. Good-bye now, 
my child — come back to mc safe and sound 
— God bless you ! " And the train was 
off. 



t87 



CHAPTEE IX. 

GRACE VISITS INLIRYVILLE. 

With much the same feeling as a Gipsy, who 
has been compelled to live for a time amongst 
the house -dwellers, returns to the camp on 
the common, to the savoury supper furnished 
gratuitously from his nearest neighbour's 
farmyard, to the bed on the green-sward, with 
heaven for a canopy and ferns for his pillow, so 
Grace, after a not disagreeable or uninstructivo 
sojourn in the foreign land of England, beheld 
once more the fair shores and heard the 
familiar accents of her own country. 

Home, after all, is home be it ever so homely ; 
and the tones and the voices familiar to child- 



The EarPs Promise. 



hood sound sweet after absence, let those 
tones and voices lack refinement though they 
may. 

Grace had outgrown her prejudice against 
the English as affected. She had learned that 
their accent was as genuine and natural as 
the rougher tongue of her native land; but 
still just as a Londoner, coming south from the 
Land o' Cakes, thanks God when he reaches 
Carlisle to hear again something approaching 
a civilized language, so her heart warmed 
at sound of the familiar intonation. She was 
home again; she was amongst her own country 
people ; she was no longer lost in the great 
country of England ; she was a person of im- 
portance once more; she had ceased to be a 
princess in disguise, — back in the old familiar 
places, she was Miss Moffat of Eayview 
again. 

From the moment she set foot in Dublin, she 
recognized that fact ; and once for all I may as 
well state, it was pleasant to her. She had 
been but one of many in England ; she was a 
person of importance in Ireland. She had 



Grace Visits Maryville, 189 

learned much near the head-quarters of ciyili- 
sation, but she had not learned to be in- 
different to the prestige given by wealth and 
rank and being well known by repute even 
beyond her county. 

These weaknesses, which add so much to 
happiness, but which usually develope them- 
selves later in life, were with Grace an in- 
tegral part of her nature. She was of the 
soil ; she was Irish and she loved everything 
Irish. There might be things in the country 
she could wish improved, but still the place 
was home to her. And Grace's heart swelled 
and her eyes filled with tears as she heard the 
brogue floating around her, and those per- 
suasive tones which in Dublin always seem 
addressed only to one person, and that the 
listener, fell upon her ear. 

Dirty, picturesque, polite, plausible, un- 
successful, they were her countrymen and 
countrywomen ; and for a moment, Grace, in 
the excitement of her return, forgot the errand 
which had brought her back, and said to 
Mr. Nicholson in an access of enthusiasm, — 



IQO The EarPs Promise, 

'' How deliglitful all this is after England ! " 

'^ It is very kind of you to say so, Miss 
Moifat," lie replied. '^ For my part, I think 
London is the only place worth living in on 
earth." 

'' Oh ! fie," exclaimed Grace, ^^ and you an 
Irishman ! " 

'^ It is precisely because I am an Irishman 
that I say so," was the reply. ^' I have met 
with many English people who believe they 
should like always to reside in Dublin." 

^' I never have," and Grace sighed when she 
thought of Mrs. Hartley's openly expressed 
opinions. 

Ere long, however, her enthusiasm toned 
down. She had not reached Mr. Nicholson's 
house before her thoughts were busy with the 
matter which had brought her to Ireland. 
Across the breakfast- table she talked to her 
companion about Amos Scott, and how it would 
fare with him. 

^' I fear badly," said that gentleman, who 
had heard all about the farmer during the 
time he spent at Bay view, and read the reports 



Grace Visits Maryville, 191 

tliat followed after the murder, in the papers. 
^^ Everything seems against him. His animus 
was no secret, and his stick was found beside 
the dead man." 

^^Poor Amos," ejaculated Grace. '^ His 
wrongs have driven him mad." 

^'Neither wrongs nor madness will reconcile 
a north of Ireland jury to knocking a man 
over in the dark," said Mr. Nicholson senten- 
tiously. ^'His chance might have been better 
in the south or west." 

'-'- What do you think they will do to him ? " 
asked Miss Moffat anx:iously. 

Mr. Nicholson paused for a moment, then 
he said, — 

*^I am afraid it will go against him, and if 
it does, unless he have powerful friends — " 

^^ Oh ! " she cried, '•^ there is not one in all 
that part of the country but would speak for 
him. Every one knows how sorely he has 
been tried. Every one's sympathy must be 
with him — " 

^^ Surely, Miss Moffat, your sympathies are 
not with him ? " interposed Mr. Nicholson 



192 The EarPs Promise. 

gravely. ^' Let Mr. Brady be what he might, 
his right to the land was "undoubted. A man is 
not to be murdered because he asks for his 
own." 

Having made which remark much in the in- 
terest of the servant, who, as is usual in Ire- 
land, had both ears laid back to listen to the 
conversation of his betters, the lawyer re- 
lapsed into silence, leaving Grace to cogitate 
at her leisure over the plain truth contained 
in his sentence. 

Her sympathies were with Amos Scott, but 
her common sense told her a man ought to be 
able to insist on having his own without pay- 
ing for his temerity by his life. 

Once again she was at sea, as every person 
is sooner or later who embarks on the study 
of Irish difficulties. ^^ There was something 
rotten in the state of Denmark " she had long 
known. Dimly she was beginning to compre- 
hend part of the rottenness lay in public feel- 
ing, popular prejudice, in that crass ignorance 
born of Eomish supremacy, and nursed by 
self-asserting Dissent, till it might have puzzled 



Grace Visits Maryville, 193 

a wiser than Solomon to say whether 
Catholic or Protestant were the most intract- 
able — whether the senseless obedience of the 
south to its priests were worse than the bigoted 
intolerance of the north to every created being 
which differed in opinion from itself. 

Every great virtue throws a shadow — the 
loftier the virtue the longer the shadow. Grace 
understood, who better? — the virtues of her 
hardworking, uncomplaining, patient, stubborn 
northern compatriots; but the dark shadows 
she had seen likewise ; she was beginning to 
understand that the natives of no land are 
perfect, that God has conferred no more special 
patent of immunity from the taint of original 
sin on the poor than on the rich. 

Though an enthusiastic, Grace was a 
thoughtful woman — a conjunction in one so 
quietly brought up, not merely possible, but 
probable, and the problem of humanity, which 
sooner or later troubles every one brought into 
contact with it, began to perplex her the first 
hour she again set foot in Ireland. 

The same trouble which beset her is vexing 

VOL. III. 



194 'I^h^ EarVs Promise. 

English pliilantliropists at the present day. 
Even in happy England there is a cancer ; who 
shall adventure to cut it out? there is a worm at 
the root ; who shall dare turn up the ground, 
and show where it is ? There are doctors who 
would palliate — there are men who would de- 
stroy the upper branches — who would prune 
and cut and lop and top the trees ; but there 
are none, unless, indeed, it may be a few brave 
souls, who have wisdom enough and courage 
sufficient to turn round and tell the lower 
classes, — " The disease is in yourselves. "We 
cannot cure it unless you will consent to help 
yourselves. You may lop and top for ever — 
you may cut down an ancient aristocracy, and 
try to dignify a mushroom nobility of your 
own creation, but your labour will be for 
nought, and your trouble loss utterly without 
gain, for wherever the evil may have begun 
it is with you it now lies. The rank and file 
of the social army are utterly demoralised. 
Each man wants to command. No man is 
willing to obey. The spirit of discontent is 
abroad. Work has become distasteful ; in that 



Grace Visits Maryville, 195 

state of life in which God has placed him. no 
human being seems satisfied to stay." 

In one respect the fault of the Irish has 
always been that of resting satisfied too easily, 
and this idea was an integral part of Grace's 
faith. At the same time she, being at once 
clear-sighted and critical, could not avoid 
seeing her country people were satisfied easily, 
or indeed at all, only when the satisfaction 
was given in the way that pleased them ; that 
is to say, a dinner of fish, under certain con- 
ditions, was not objectionable, but a dinner, 
even off a stalled ox, unless it happened to be 
served exactly as they thought well, or in the 
place they saw fit to eat it, would not have 
met with their approval. 

Had she not herself offered to Amos Scott 
the choice of farms as fertile, homesteads as 
substantial as that he could hope to hold no 
longer ; and had he not refused her kindness 
almost with scorn. He said he would have the 
familiar acres or none. He would have the homo 
rendered dear by the mere passage of time, by 
the events which had taken place within its 

o2 



196 The EarPs Promise. 

walls, or else a dry ditch and the stars of heaven 
shining down on him and his. He would law 
and law and law until his last shilling was 
gone, in feeing men who could never put his 
wrong right on this earth ; he would fight every 
inch of the ground only to be beaten at last ; 
he said all this — what had come of it ? 

That he was lying in gaol, waiting his trial 
for murder ; that, likely as not, he would walk 
out some morning on the scaffold — his grey 
hair floating in the wind— to end years of suf- 
fering, to expiate years of folly with his life. 

Her sympathies were with him. How would 
it fare with the wrong-doers, if no one had 
compassion for those who err ? If she could 
help him, if she could save him, she would. 
To Mrs. Hartley she had said, and said as she 
believed truly, she must return to Ireland chiefly 
for Nettie's sake. Now she was in Ireland, Grace 
could not conceal from herself the fact that she 
had come home as much in the interests of the 
accused as in those of Mr. Brady's widow. 

"Poor Amos," she thought, "the gentry 
will be all against him. They will forget 



Grace Visits Maryville, 197 

what he suffered. They will remember only 
his sin." 

IsTotwithstanding Mrs. Nicholson's entreaties, 
Grace made no longer stay in Dublin than it 
was possible to avoid. She longed to be in the 
north. It seemed to her she was needed 
there, and Mr. Nicholson, having been so for- 
tunate as to find an acquaintance who was pro- 
ceeding as far as Kilcurragh, put the heiress 
in his charge, and, it may as well be confessed 
with some misgivings as to how Grace would 
comport herself in so critical a position, saw 
her off. 

^^ If you want my help," he said, and he 
felt quite certain she would, " I will come at 
an hour's notice." 

Yery gratefully she gave him her hand, and 
thanked him with one of her rare and wonder- 
ful smiles. 

^' A woman, if she had been portionless, to 
have driven a man to distraction," considered 
Mr. Nicholson, and he was right. An heiress 
is never so truly a woman as other women. 
Gold clothes her as with a garment, and it is 



198 The EarPs Promise, 

a somewhat stiff robe in which to take her 
walks abroad. 

Decidedly Grace would have been a more 
charming, even though a much less useful 
woman, had her face alone been her fortune. 

As matters stood, however, she made friends 
so successfully with the elderly gentleman 
who was her travelling companion, that by the 
time they arrived at their journey's end, he 
was sufficiently interested in Amos Scott to 
assist her in finding his solicitor, who chanced 
to be a gentleman famous for making the best 
of bad cases — for getting off notorious vaga- 
bonds, for taking advantage of legal quibbles, 
and saving men's money and lives by the 
splitting of a legal straw. 

"We are all friends here, I suppose," he 
said looking doubtfully at Grace's companion, 
whilst he stripped the feathers off a pen. ''I 
may speak confidentially ? " 

"Most decidedly," Grace answered. 
"I can do nothing for him," he remarked. 
" He will not trust me." 

" How do you mean ? " she asked. 



Grace visits Maryville, 199 

^^He says lie is innocent. What can any 
human being do in the face of such an asser- 
tion ? " 

For a minute or two Grace sat silent. The 
idea was as new to her as obnoxious to Scott's 
lawyer. Hitherto it had never occurred to 
her that he would deny his guilt ; but now — 
something — not born of reason or conviction, 
but a subtle instinct, prompted her to answer, 

^^If Amos Scott says he is innocent, you 
may believe him. I have known him since I 
was a child. At such a juncture he would not 
tell a lie." 

The lawyer smiled. 

^^ Believe me. Miss Moffat," he said, ^'the 
prospect of a halter has a wonderfully deter- 
rent influence on the candour of most people." 

^^ Perhaps," she replied; "but he would 
tell me the truth." 

"Will you see him?" asked the other 
eagerly. 

"Yes, certainly." 

" And report the result of your interview 
to me ? " he continued. 



200 The EarPs P> 



7'omise, 



Only for an instant she hesitated, then she 
replied, — 

^^ Word for word as far as I can recollect; 
what he says you shall hear." 

^^Then I may save him," he continued. 

^^ If money — " began Grace, but he stopped 
her. 

^'I am not indifferent to money," was the 
reply, ^'but I never work for it alone. A 
thousand pounds paid down could never 
quicken my intellect as much as a perfect 
knowledge of a case. With Scott I am utterly 
at sea. He will not confide in me, and I do 
not know what to do for him. And the 
Assizes are close at hand, that is the worst of 
it." 

''I shall see you again before the week is 
out," said Grace. '^Meantime — " and she 
laid some notes on the table, which the laT^yer 
folded up and handed to her once again. 

'^ Money could do no more than I have tried 
to accomplish," he remarked. ''When it is 
all over pay me if you will." 

''Upon the whole, Miss Moffat," criticized 



Grace Visits Maryville, 201 

her travelling companion, ^^it seems to me the 
rogues have the best of it in this life. No 
honest man could find a lawyer like that," 
which is no doubt true. Perhaps it is part of 
the Eternal Justice to leave one world in which 
the rogues and the thieves and the plausible 
soft-spoken vagabonds have the best of it. 

Spite of all the clergy tell us I am afraid, 
notwithstanding the hard lines many ragamuffins 
meet with, the paradise of sinners is earth. 

Straight from Kilcurragh to Mary ville drove 
Grace. Her traA^elling companion saw her and 
her slender luggage safely bestowed on the 
outside car, by which vehicle she elected to 
travel, and then made his farewell. 

"Good-bye, Miss Mofi'at," he said; '^ shall 
watch the progress of the case with interest 
and anxiety." 

'^ He will tell the truth to me," she answered. 
And strong in this faith, she started on the long 
drive which lay before her. 

Anxious to avoid Kingslough, and for a 
short time, at least, all contact with its inhabi- 
tants, she told the man to take a road lying a 



202 The EarPs Ps 



romise. 



little inland which would, she knew, bring her 
out near the gates of Maryville. 

It was a lovely evening, the sea lay like a 

mirror under the clear blue sky, the woods in 

the distance stood dark and green, mellowed by 

flushes of sunlight, that stole over them warm 

and bright ; up and down the hillsides crept 

waving shadows and patches of golden light ; 

the white cabins, nestling among fields where 

the wheat was already in the ear, looked as if 

they had every one been freshly whitewashed. 

Over the calm home landscape Grace gazed, 

tears dropping down in her heart the while ; 

whilst her eyes gathered the peace and the 

loveliness of the familiar scene, her thoughts 

were concentrated on a grave in Kingslough 

churchyard. Life seemed to have begun for her 

in earnest at her father's death. Strangers dwelt 

under the remembered rooftree. To no hearth 

could she now creep close feeling it all her 

own. For others welcomes might sound, for 

others smiles might be wreathed, eyes brighten, 

tones grow softer, but for her with neither kith 

nor kin who cared that she was returning a 



Grace Visits Maryville. 203 



lonely woman to comfort one almost as desolate 
as herself? 

By the time she reached Maryville the sun 

had set, and the gloom of the dark avenue 

seemed to fall heavily upon her as they drove 

.over \kQ soft gravel, still wet from heavy rain 

which had fallen in the morning. 

There was not a soul stirring about the 
place. At the lodge no one appeared, and the 
driver had to open the gates for himself. As 
they neared the house, it seemed like a building 
deserted. 

Not a dog's bark broke the stillness, not a 
sound came through the evening air to prove 
that life was near at hand. 

The man laid that day in his grave was no 
quieter than the place of which he had so 
lately been master. Through the hall the 
noise of Grace's knock echoed drearily. No 
city of the dead was ever more silent than 
Maryville on the first occasion that Miss 
!Moffat set foot within its precincts. 

Standing looking over the deserted la^vn, 
Grace after a few moments heard the sound of 



204 The EarPs Promise, 



footsteps coining apparently from some remote 
distance in the house. Across a stone passage, 
then along a wide corridor, then over the hall 
paved with black and white marble came that 
steady heavy tread. Next instant the door 
was opened sufficiently to admit of a head 
being thrust out to see who the intruder 
might be; a head, covered with luxuriant 
black hair, belonging to a woman from whose 
appearance Grace instinctively recoiled. 

At sight of the visitor this woman opened 
the door a little wider, affording Miss Moffat 
a full view of a female of about seven or eight 
and twenty, tall, erect, bold. 

Evidently she had been crying, but the 
traces of tears failed to soften the hard defiance 
of her dark eyes, or the tone in which she 
asked Grace what she was " pleased to 
want ? " 

^^ Is Mrs. Brady within ? " inquired the 
visitor. 

'' She is," was the reply, uttered in an 
accent and with a manner as uncompromising 
as a north wind. 



Grace Visits Maryvilie. 205 

'' Can I see her ? " 

"It is not likely you can. Maybe you are 
a stranger, and have not heard what has 
happened." 

"It is because I have heard," Grace 
answered, "that I am here. Be so good as to 
tell Mrs. Brady — " 

""Who is it, Susan?" called out a weak, 
querulous voice at this juncture. " !N'o matter 
who it is, tell them I am in trouble and can 
see no one — remember that — no one ! " 

" Not even Grace," answered her old friend. 
" Oh, ^N'ettie ! I have travelled all the way 
from England to be with you. Let me come 
in and speak to you : let me stay — " 

Before she had finished her sentence Mrs. 
Brady had crossed the hall and flung the door 
wide open. 

" Grace ! Grace ! " she cried. 

That was all. In a wordless agony she 
clung about jthe new-comer. She twined her 
arms around her, she laid her head on her 
shoulder, but she never cried nor sobbed. The 
years fraught with agony inconceivable, seemed 
to have taken the power of weeping from her. 



2o6 The EarPs Promise, 

^^ This is the first time she has come out of 
her room since — " began she of the black hair 
in explanation, but Mrs. Brady stopped her. 

^' Don't ! " she said in that faint irritable 
voice, which spoke volumes to Grace of the 
sufferings she had endured. ^' I cannot bear to 
talk," she went on addressing her friend. 
^^If you stay, if you really want to stay, you 
must never speak to me of it or him. Will 
you promise ? " 

^^I never will unless you wish me to do so," 
Grace answered readily, scarcely realizing how 
difficult she might find it to keep her word. 

'^ Where will I put the portmantle ? " 
inquired the car- driver, breaking across the 
conversation with an abruptness which one at 
least of the trio felt to be a relief. 

It was almost dark inside the house — so 
dark that Grace, unable to see the contents of 
her purse, stepped out into the twilight to pay 
the man. 

" Can I get a drop of water for my horse, 
Miss ? " he asked as she counted the money 
into his hands, and turning she repeated the 



Grace Visits Maryville, 207 

question to the servant wlio stood in the door- 
way. 

^^Not here," answered the woman. ^^The 
men are gone, and the dogs are loose. There 
is a stream crosses the road less than a mile 
up it ; the beast can drink his fill there.'' 

Never before — never in the whole of her 
life had Grace heard so inhospitable a sentence 
uttered. Involuntarily it caused her to double 
the amount of the man's own gratuity, and to 
say to him in a low voice, — 

^^ They are in great distress of mind here ; 
perhaps you know." 

^^Yes, Miss, I know," was the reply; but 
Grace felt there was no sympathy in his tone, 
and she turned to re-enter the house with a 
conviction that even the circumstances of Mr. 
Brady's death had failed to awaken popular 
sympathy in his behalf. 

'^ Where is Mrs. Brady?" she asked, peer- 
ing through the twilight in search of !N"ettiey 
who was, however, nowhere visible. 

" She's gone back to her room ; if you want 
her, you'll have to go there after her. She 



2o8 The EarPs P. 



ro7mse. 



has never come down till to-night. She has 
not been to say quite right in her head ever 
since." 

'^ Perhaps she would rather be alone ? " 

^'I don't think it will make any differ one 
way or the other," was the somewhat con- 
temptuous answer which decided Grace on at 
once making her way to Nettie. 

^^ "Which is her room ? " she inquired. 

''Eight opposite you when you get to the 
head of the stairs ; " and thus directed, Grace 
without ceremony crossed the hall, ascended 
the staircase, and joined her friend. 

She found Nettie pacing the apartment with 
slow, measured steps. Up and down, down and 
up, she marched like some animal on a chain, 
hopelessly, helplessly, wearily. Suddenly she 
stopped in this exercise. 

" You ought not to stay here, Grace. I am 
no company for anybody now." 

''If I had wanted company I should have 
stayed where I was," Grace answered. "I 
came here to see if I coidd not be of use to 
you, and I shall remain till I am quite satisfied 
I cannot be of any ! " 



Grace Visits Maryville, iq() 

'^!^o one can help me," said Nettie delibe- 
rately. Then finding Grace kept silence, she 
went on hurriedly to ask, — 

'-'' "What are you thinking of ? " 

^^Iwas thinking, dear — " the words came 
softly through the darkness — '^ that God in 
His own good time will help you." 

^' He cannot." was the reply, spoken sharply 
and quickly. 

'^ We shall see," and Grace sat down by one 
of the windows, while Nettie resumed her pur- 
poseless walk, backwards and forwards, forwards 
and backwards enough to drive a bystander to 
madness. 

After a time the door opened. 

^*I have made you some tea, mem. Will 

you come down or will I bring it up to you ? " 

Nettie never answered. Neither by sign 

nor token did she give evidence of having 

heard a word. 

'^I will come down," said Grace after a 
moment's pause, sufficient to permit Mrs. 
Brady to reply if she would. '-'' Should you 
not like a light, Nettie ? " she asked with a 

VOL. III. p 



2IO Tlie EarPs Promise, 

natural hesitation about making such a sugges- 
tion in another person's house. 

^^I hate light," was the answer. 

"How long has she been like that?" 
whispered Miss Moffat as the door closed 
between her and the blue-eyed, golden-haired 
Nettie of the long-ago past." 

"Ever since that night; except cold water, 
3he has not had bite or sup in her lips for the 
last five days." 

" Where are the children ? " 

" I asked some of the neighbours to take 
them till — till — it was all over." 

There was an instant's break in her voice. 
Next minute it was cold and hard and ringing 
as ever. 

In the small ante-room where Mr. Brady 
had received the Eileys, Grace found tea pre- 
pared, and she sat down to it with what 
appetite she might. 

She had been delicately nurtured, and the 
cup of coarse blue delft, the dark brown sugar, 
the battered tray, the black-handled knife, the 
smoked teapot, repelled her the moment she 
set eyes on the repast. 



Grace Visits Maryville. 211 

But she forced herself to eat. She had come 
to be useful, and she was determined to let no 
fastidious niceties cumber her at first starting. 
Her greatest trial was the woman, who after a 
grudging fashion strove to make her welcome. 
Grace's experience had never previously brought 
her even mentally in contact with a person of 
the kind, but her instinct told her there was 
something wrong about dark eyes and darker 
hair ; that if everything were right she and 
!N'ettie ought not to be under the same roof, 
with a person against whom every nerve seemed 
to be at war, whose very presence was a trial, 
whose interest in the late master of Maryville 
had evidently been very close and very great. 
By the light of the solitary candle with which 
her banquet-table was illumined, Grace, quick 
as is the nature of her sex, took in the personal 
appearance and attire of the solitary domestic 
Maryville seemed to boast. 

Not an ill-looking woman ; but hard, bold, 
bad— bad decidedly — one with whom wicked- 
ness had not prospered. Grace looked at her 
poor brown-stuff gown, scanty and ill-fitting, 

p2 



212 The EarPs Promise, 



but covering a magnificent figure ; at the poor 
attempt at mourning made in a little black 
neckerchief drawn round her throat and pinned 
in front of the half-high dress ; at her hands 
red and hard with work, to grasp, dimly it 
might be but sufficiently, the fact sin had not 
paid this creature high wages for the loss of all 
women hold dear. 

The man was dead. She had wanted to ask 
many questions, but with this idea before her 
and others looming behind, Grace could ask no 
question of her companion, who, comprehending 
that without a word of explanation the other 
knew her position, hardened herself and decided 
she would make this stranger's stay unpleasant 
if she could. 

Understanding this in a vague uncertain 
fashion, Grace said, — 

^'I suppose you do not know who I am, 
Mrs. Brady and I are old friends, and 1 have 
come from England to be with her in this 
affliction. I used to live near Kingslough ; 
my father was Mr. Mofi'at of Bay view." 

^^I have heard tell of you both," was the 



Grace Visits Mary vi lie. 213 



reply sullenly spoken. "You'll have come 
over to help Amos Scott as well as to see Mrs. 
Brady, I'm thinking." 

To which speech Miss Moffat deemed it 
prudent to make no reply. 



214 



CHAPTEE X. 

A RAY OF LIGHT. 

Not all Grace's persuasions could induce Mrs. 
Brady on the following morning to touch any 
breakfast. By special request Miss Moffat had 
been permitted to pass the night in a dressing- 
room opening into Nettie's apartment, and 
until overpowered by weariness she fell into a 
broken sleep, she heard the widow tossing from 
side to side, moaning now and then, at inter- 
vals breathing many sighs, but weeping never. 
With her own hands Miss Moffat made her 
a tiny morsel of toast, and took that and a cup 
of tea to her bedside ; but Nettie refused to 
eat, not querulously or with any effusion of 



A Ray of Light, 215 

manner, but with a settled determination diffi- 
cult to hope to sway. 

Nevertheless, her Mend thought she would 
try. '^Dear ISTettie," she said, '^you ought to 
eat." 

"I cannot; it would choke me," was the 
reply. 

'^I am afraid you will bring on an illness." 

'-^ Oh ! if I could only die," and she buried 
her face in the pillow. 

Grace went downstairs again. 

As has been already stated her knowledge of 
mortal, physical, or deep mental sickness was 
not large ; and if her knowledge of the latter 
had been, she might well have felt puzzled 
how to deal with Nettie. 

After her breakfast she sat down for a few 
minutes to think, and whilst she was deep in 
meditation Susan entered. 

'' The mistress would take nothing, then," 
she remarked, looking at the tray Grace had 
carried all unavailingly to Mrs. Brady. 

"No." 

^^ I thought you wouldn't get her to cat. I 



2i6 The EarPs Promise. 



have tried her hard enough, I can tell you. 
You don't seem to have been hungry yourself," 
she went on, glancing at the dish of bacon 
swimming in grease and the new-laid eggs 
that, poached in fat, floated in company with 
the unsavoury-looking slices. 

'' I was not," answered Miss Moffat. 
'^ It is not a heartsome place to come to, 
you're thinking, likely," suggested the woman. 
'^ I was thinking what I could do for Mrs. 
Erady," Grace replied. ^'She ought to have 
something. Is there any wine in the house ?" 
^^ There is whisky," was the answer. 
Grace groaned mentally. ^' I wonder if she 
would take a little milk," she said audibly. 
" You can try. Will I bring you some ? " 
There was a secret triumph in the tone, as 
though she suspected the attempt would prove 
futile. And she was right. IN'ettie would 
have nothing but water. Of that she drank 
incessantly. 

"I am parched," she said in answer to 
Grace's remonstrances. ^' My lips arc so dry 
they bleed ; " and as she removed her hand- 



A Ray of Light. 217 

kercliief from them, Grace saw it was stained 
with crimson spots. 

What would Grace not have given for Mrs. 
Hartley's counsel ? Good women, and kind 
and true, lived at Kingslough, but somehow 
she felt at that juncture Mrs. Hartley's hard 
worldly sense would prove more useful than 
all the well-meant sympathy amiable but in- 
€ompetent people could offer. 

Besides, IN'ettie herself would have none of 
Xingslough, either in the way of pity or help. 
All the morning Maryville was besieged 
with callers, notes, cards, and inquiries. 

^^ They can come now," said IS'ettie bitterly, 
as she watched car and carriage and messenger 
depart unsatisfied. ^^ They think I can go 
back and take the old up where I left off 
that morniDg. They do not know; how 
should they ? " 

Dinner-time arrived. With a bang, Susan 
set down on one side of the table at the other 
side of which Grace sat ^vriting, a dish of 
potatoes piled high and another of herrings 
floating in a fresh sea of grease. 



2i8 The EarVs Promise, 

'' Maybe it's not good enough for yon," said 
the woman, with a sneer, '' but it's all there is 
in the lionse." 

^^ You mistake," said Grace ; *^ it is quite 
good enough for me, but I do not think it is 
anything like good enough for Mrs. Brady." 
And she took her place at table whilst Susan 
flounced out of the room only to turn back and 
inquire whether she would ^^ be plazed to 
drink water or milk." 

Had she followed Mrs. Hartley's instructions 
Grace would have said water. As it was, the 
national partiality for milk common to the 
Irish ladies at that period, and which perhaps 
with the moist climate had share in their 
lovely complexions, extinguished all English 
lights, and so she chose the latter, thereby 
mollifying Susan, who thought ^' she might 
not be so stuck-up after all, maybe." 

Of potatoes and milk Grace made her meal 
with relish, it must be confessed, and spite of 
her sorrow. The potatoes were capital, the milk 
rich. The herrings she could not fancy, the 
lake of slowly congealing fat in which they 



A Ray of Light. 219 



reposed effectually warned her from them. 
While she ate she thought, ^' Let Susan be 
what she would, or perhaps would not, she, 
Miss Moffat, could not put that wrong right if 
she kept her at arms' length for ever. On the 
whole, had she not better try to conciliate this 
woman, who, spite of her position, seemed 
friendly to Nettie? ^'Perhaps," thought 
Grace, '•^ because she knows if this door closes 
behind her, none other would open to receive 
her." 

There were not many women who dared 
even think of adopting a conciliatory policy 
nnder such circumstances ; but in many ways 
Grace's position was exceptional. 

After all, what is the good of virtue if it be 
not sufficiently certain of its own standing to 
walk just once and away on the same side of 
the road with vice, and refrain from drawing- 
its skirts decorously around it ? 

Grace's virtue, at all events, was made of 
sufficiently strong stuff to risk all the results 
of such a companionship. She hated the sin 
she felt had been done, as probably those to 



2 20 The EarPs Promise. 

whom the nature of sin is almost a mystery- 
alone are able — with an abhorrence, a detesta- 
tion, a contempt, a loathing, akin to the feel- 
ings with which a man Avho had bathed 
from his earliest youth might look upon a 
disease produced by filth, and the lack of all 
ordinary physical cleanliness ; but — black tan- 
gled hair, unkempt, unbraided, bold eyes, in- 
solence, brazen defiance notwithstanding — she 
was sorry for the sinner. 

Where vice flaunts past dressed in the latest 
fashion, driving a lovely pair of ponies, assum- 
ing the most recent fashionable manner whether 
that manner be modest or forward, we may 
call it picturesque, and forget, if we choose, 
the ghastly death's head lurking beneath the 
rouge and paint and powder plastered on the 
face of Sin's last successful child ; but when 
we come to see some of Sin's despised daugh- 
ters, some of those who have been cut off by 
their unjust parent with less even than the 
traditional shilling, I think the observer must 
be less than man or woman — more fiend than 
either can prove on occasion — who shall fail to 



A Ray of Light. 221 



consider for -^liat inconceivably small wages 
the devil gets immortal souls to work his 
ends. 

If his employes would strike, what an in- 
voluntary lock-out from Hell here and Hell 
hereafter the world should witness ! 

^^ Susan," began Miss Moffat, as the hand- 
maiden having piled plate and vegetable dish 
on the top of the herrings, was about to 
remove the dinner appointments on the ex- 
temporised tray, — ^'do not you think Mrs. 
Brady ought to see a doctor ? " 

'-'- 1 think it's time she saw somebody," 
agreed Susan. 

'-'- Would not it be well to send one of the 
men with a note to Mr. Hanlon, asking him to 
call ? " 

^' It's no use," answered Susan shaking her 
head. " Mr. Hanlon he came u]d the day of the 
inquest; he had to come, and after the crowner 
was gone he wanted to see mistress. In coui'se, 
I asked him to step in here and told her, and 
you'd have thought she'd have taken my head 
off. I was glad enough to get out of the room. 



The EarPs Promise, 



I •would not like to be the one who should 
tell her Mr. Hanlon was here again." 

"Why, I thought she always liked him," 
said Grace fairly puzzled. 

" I can't say for that, it was hard to tell 
who Mrs. Brady liked or did not like — she 
is a mighty secret woman in her ways, but 
the master hated him and forbid him the 
house. Most like she minds all that." 

" Poor Nettie, how fond she must have 
been of him after all ! " murmured Grace, 
speaking her thoughts out loud. 

" Fond of the master, is it you mean ! " asked 
Susan. '' Fond of him ; that she wasn't, that 
she could not be, I'll take my Bible oath. 
Why, Miss — " and in her energy she banged 
the herrings and superstructure on the table 
again — '^he treated her worse nor a slave. If 
it had not been for the children, she'd have 
gone over and over and over again. I have 
seea it in her face when she has been sitting 
beside the fire, thinking, thinking ; or when 
maybe she has left the room after giving him 
one look. He's gone and there's no need for 



A Ray of Light, 223 

us to send the bad word after liim; but no 
black negro ever had a worse time of it than 
the woman that's now a widow ; and whatever 
she is fretting about — and if I was you Miss, 
I would not trouble my head concerning 
that matter — it is not her murdered husband." 

"I am afraid you are not fond of Mrs 
Erady," suggested Grace. Perhaps the exact 
speech the unities might have suggested at 
such a crisis would not have been composed of 
the same or even similar words, but certainly 
an astute lawyer or a clever worldly woman 
would have put just the same question. 

" An' saving your presence, Miss, who 
could be fond of her?" inquired. Susan. ^^ She's 
secret as the grave He might beat or starve 
or blackguard her as he liked, and she 
answered never a v/ord. !N'ever to one did she 
come for pity or help. I have heard them say 
Miss, old women, not like me, that over and 
over again they wanted to talk with her about 
her trouble, and she put them back. She 
was that proud Miss, flesh and blood could not 
thole her." 



224 The EarPs Proinise. 



" Proud," Grace repeated, and she looked 
at the room, she glanced at the table. 

'^Ay, just proud," was the answer; ^^ folks are 
often as proud of the things they want ta 
have as of those they have got, and if they can't 
get all they want they turn sulky, just — ^just 
as she did," finished Susan, and without leav- 
ing Grace time for a reply, she took up the 
herring- dish and its belongings and dis- 
appeared. 

When an hour afterwards she returned 
to claim the table-cloth, Miss Moffat had 
vanished. 

Over the fields she was gone to visit Mrs. 
Scott. !N"ow making her way across a meadow 
where, as is the Irish fashion, the hay had 
been gathered into about twenty small stacks, 
hay ropes binding the grass together; now tread- 
ing lightly between potatoe rigs, now skirting 
a field of oats or barley, she came at length by 
a different route to any she had heretofore 
traversed to the homestead of the Castle Farm. 
Straight into the kitchen Grace walked. 
Upstairs she heard the sound of movement 



A Ray of Light, 225 



and voices, and upstairs after knocking vainly 
on the dresser she proceeded. 

A stifled shriek was the first sound which 
greeted her, the next was, — 

"Miss Grace, go down again into the open 
air. And may God Himself preserve you from 
all evil. We have got the faver." 

Sound of dread in Ireland ! If there be a 
cowardly spot in the nature of Irish men and 
women even at the present day, it is their 
blind, unreasoning dread of infection. 

Eeared amongst those who held this horror, 
Grace at sound of Mrs. Scott's news in- 
voluntarily drew back. ^ext instant she 
stood by Eeuben's bedside. 

The lad was dying. Even her inexperience 
grasped that; and falling on her knees and 
burying her face in the coverlet, she wept 
tears she had been longing to shed ever 
since she entered Maryville. 

" Miss Grace," it was the mother who spoke 
and touched her, " ye can't save him. Why 
should ye kill yourself?" 

VOL. III. Q 



226 TJie EarVs Promise. 

"And you?" asked Grace, looking at 
mother and friend. 

"We are in the hands of God," was 
the reply. 

" So am I," said Miss Moffat, and took the 
lad's white fingers in her own. 

"Who is attending him," she asked. 

"Mr. Hanlon — who but him? He had a 
right to do all he could for us ; and I'll say 
that, in his benefit, he has done it. 

"Why was it his right?" asked Grace, 
ignoring all the rest of the sentence save that 
which jarred on her ear. 

" Because him, and men like him, made the 
good man what — what — There, God help us, 
Miss Grace ! Go away or you'll be hearing me 
raving worse than my poor lad did when first 
he lay bad, and likely be taken yourself." 

" I am not afraid," said Grace, but she 
moved towards the door as she spoke. "Mrs. 
Scott, I shall see Amos to-morrow I hope ; 
what am I to tell him ? " 

"Tell him what you've seen, Miss 
Grace." 



A Ray of Light, ii'j 



" And what else ? " asked her visitor. 

^' I don't just understand. Oh! yes, I do. 
Downstairs if you please, Miss. I'll follow 
you." 

In the sunlight Grace waited for her to 
come down, and involuntarily as she looked at 
the flood of golden light in which the land- 
scape was steeped, she coukl not help thinking 
that as the rain falleth on the just and the 
unjust, so the sun shines on the happy and 
the miserable. 

Whilst she was vainly trying to solve this 
great problem of nature's lack of sympathy, 
Mrs. Scott joined her, keeping at a respectful 
distance. 

'^I know what you mean, Miss Grace," 
began the woman, who had grown old suddenly ; 
^' but, between you and me and him, it's no 
use talking of innocency if the other thing be 
guiltiness. He did it, and if I had been in 
his place, I'd ha' done it myself." 

These people — neither the man nor the 
woman — nor men nor women lil^e them, were 
likely to take refuge in falsehood, and convic- 

u2 



228 The EarPs Promise, 

tion entered Grace's heart at that moment. 
If Amos had sinned, he would have told how 
it all came about ere now. Had his been the 
hands that struck his enemy down, he would 
have waited for no warrant but given himself 
up, and with obstinate honesty endured the 
consequences of his guilt. 

Or it might be that in the natural terror 
induced by the accomplishment of such a deed, 
and the horror of the consequences certain to 
ensue, he would have fled. Either the sturdy 
endurance or the frantic fear would not have 
been out of keeping with the hard, stubborn^ 
straightforward nature — but resolutely to 
maintain his innocence even to his own 
lawyer — to offer no explanation as to whether 
the blow was dealt in cold blood or after bitter 
altercation — Grace could not reconcile such a 
line of conduct with anything she could re- 
member of Scott, and out of the fulness of 
her heart she spoke, ^^As certainly as you 
stand there I believe Amos never killed that 
man." 

'' Do you think you'll make a jury believe 



A Ray of Light. 229 

that, Miss Grace?" asked- Mrs. Scott, holding 
a blue-checked apron to her face, down which 
tears were coursing. Well, well — one trouble 
is almost driven out by another — when 
Eeuben's gone, there'll be no one to think 
about but the master." 

In this she chanced to be mistaken, however. 
When Eeuben was gone, she herself lay fight- 
ing for dear life with the fever which had 
passed by her husband ; leaving him, so most 
people said, for a worse fate than death by 
the visitation of God. 



230 



CHAPTER XI. 

IN THE NIGHT-WATCHES. 

Before Miss Moffat liad nearlj^ readied 
Maryville, Susan met her. 

^' It went out of my head, Miss," she 
began, ^'to tell you they had the fever at the 
farm. You have been there most like." 

^^ Yes ; and seen the lad who appears to be 
dying." 

^^What will we do now," asked Susan in 
an access of despair, "the children have come 
home ?" 

"Well, what of that?" 

"What of that!" repeated the woman, 
scornfully, " like as not you'll have brought 



In the NiorJit- Watches. 



the fever home in your clothes with 
you." 

Grace stopped. It was a serious loss to her 
as a woman that she had never been with 
illness, and knew little or nothing about it, 
and now unwittingly she had run the risk of 
doing a very terrible wrong, — bringing infec- 
tion into another person's house, amongst 
another person s children. 

^^ Oh ! I am so sorry," she exclaimed, un- 
heeding the contemptuous inflection of Susan's 
voice; ^^what can we do; what ought I to 
do?" 

^' You had better take off your outside things, 
and give them to me to hang up in the air," 
was the reply uttered in a mollified tone. ^' I 
will bring down your wrapper; and then if 
you throw your other clothes into water, may- 
be no harm will come of it. But don't go 
talking to the mistress till you've changed." 

'-'• I will not," promised Miss Moffat, and 
she tried to keep her word, for wlicn Mrs. 
Brady called to her querulously, Grace an- 
swered, — 



232 The EarPs Promise, 

'^Wait for a few minutes, I will be with 
you directly." 

'^ I want you now." 

^^ I cannot come. I have been to the Castle 
Farm, and Eeuben is ill with fever; and I 
must get rid of all possible chance of carrying 
infection before I see any one." 

" I do not care about infection," answered 
Nettie. 

" Well, if you do not I do," retorted Grace, 
and she essayed to bolt her door ; but as is 
not uncommon, even now in Ireland, all means 
of secure fastening were either broken or in- 
operative. '^ Dear Nettie," she went on, '' do 
not come near me ; for the sake of the children, 
if not for your own, keep away." 

But Mrs. Brady resolutely had her will. 

^'Who did you see at the Castle Farm?" 
she asked. 

''Mrs. Scott and Eeuben. Nettie do be 
persuaded, and go away. If you or any of 
the children caught this fever, I should never 
forgive myself." 

''We will not catch fever any one of us," 



hi the Night- Watches. 233 

answered Mrs. Brady. ^' I want to hear about 
the Scotts. What does Mrs. Scott say ? You 
know what I mean. 

" About Amos ? " Grace suggested ; ^^what 
can she say. Do not let us talk of it, IN'ettie." 

" I must talk of it. Are you not going to 
see him, Grace?" 

" Yes; but I did not intend to tell you." 

'' Why not ? I want you to go. I want to 
hear every word he speaks to you." 

^^ISTettie, you are ill," said Miss Mofiat, 
noticing the flush on her friend's thin cheeks, 
the brightness of her eyes, and the parched 
dryness of her lips ; "is there nothing you 
could fancy, dear ; nothing I could get that 
might tempt you to eat ?" 

Mrs. Brady shook her head ; then said with 
a faint smile, — 

" I will try to eat something if you promise 
to tell me word for word all Amos says to 
you." 

" How can I do so, you being what you 
are?" Grace replied. 

" I am the most miserable wretch on earth," 



:!34 1^J^(^ EarPs Promise. 



Nettie exclaimed. ^^My heart is breaking, 
Grace, and yon will not do tlie simplest thing 
to try and ease it." 

'^]N"ettie dear, how can you ask me?'' 
pleaded Miss Moffat. ^^ I do not love yon less 
because I refuse to betray any confidence the 
unhappy man may put in me." 

'^ Do you think I want him hung ?" inquired 
Nettie. '^Do you think I should not be glad 
to hear he had got off safe ? I tell you, if 
laying down my own life could procure his 
acquittal, I would cheerfully do it." 

'^ You certainly must be insane," said Grace, 
with the quiet force of conviction ; ^' however, 
to humour you I promise this, that I will 
repeat as much as I can of our conversa- 
tion, although I should have thought this the 
very last subject on which you would have 
wished to hear me speak." 

'' Should you ?" exclaimed Nettie. '' Well, 
that only shows how mistaken even clever 
people may be sometimes. Hush ! Here 
comes that woman ! " and Mrs. Brady slipped 
back into her own room, closing the door 
softly behind her. 



In the Nio-ht- Watches. 



Faithful to her promise Nettie did try to 
swallow something, but the attempt proved 
almost a total failure. 

^^It chokes me, dear," she said almost 
humbly to her friend. ^^ I wish — I wish I 
could have something to quiet me a little. 
Don't you think," she added wistfully, '^ that 
old Dr. Girvan, who has seen so many people 
in trouble, might think of something that would 
do me good ? " 

^^He shall try," answered Grace; and she 
sent a messenger for him. 

"When the old man arrived he shook his head, 
called Nettie ^ poor girl ' ; felt her pulse, said 
the shock had been too much for her ; advised 
that she should leave Maryville as soon as 
possible; expressed his intention of sending 
her a soothing mixtui-e, and went away be- 
lieving he understood Mrs. Brady's case. 

'' Ah ! " said Nettie after he had gone, '' if 
these doctors when they listen to our hearts' 
throbbing could only tell what is really 
passing in them, j^ow we should dread their 



236 The EarPs Promise. 

" Dear, do try to keep yourself quiet," ex- 
postulated Grace, and l^ettie obediently kept 
silence. 

Another restless night, as Grace heard ; so 
restless that Grace rose and taking the child 
^Nettie had insisted on having to sleep with her 
away, put the little creature into her own bed, 
and kept watch by Mrs. Brady till the next 
morning. 

'^ Grace," said the widow turning her face 
towards her friend, and stroking the hand that 
held hers so tenderly, ''you are too good to 
me by far ; but some day I do not think you 
will be sorry to remember all you have done 
for me." 

"Darling, I am only too thankful to be able 
to do anything," was the reply, and Grace 
pillowed the once beautiful face upon her arm ; 
and whilst Nettie slept fitfully, looked at the 
lines trouble had graven on the forehead she 
could remember, as if it were only a day 
previously, white and smooth and unmarked 
by even a trace of care. 

Without much trouble Amos Scott's soli- 



Ill the Night- Watches. 237 

citor had been able to obtain permission for 
Miss Moffat to see her old friend. In Kil- 
curragh it was talked of as a nine days' 
wonder that a young lady of fortune and 
position should so far demean herself as to pay 
a visit to a common murderer ; for according 
to general procedure the public had already 
tried and condemned the suspected man. 

If people were not very much concerned 
about Mr. Brady's death, they were at least 
very greatly infuriated against Amos Scott. 

'^ IN'o man's life," they said, ^' would be safe 
if the farmer was allowed to get off, — if those 
who considered themselves injured were 
suffered to take the law into their own hands 
and revenge themselves as they pleased." 
With much more to the same effect, which 
Miss Moffat did not hear, and which would not 
have greatly affected her had she heard. 

Never before had Grace felt so much 
shocked at the change a short time is capable 
of effecting as when she beheld Amos Scott. 

He was worn almost to skin and bone ; and 
there was a sad, weary, despairing look in his 



138 The EarPs Promise. 



face that might well touch the heart of a 
woman who had known him in his prime of 
health and hope and prosperity. 

There was a gentleness in his manner she 
had never perceived before. It seemed almost 
as though he had already passed through the 
gates of death and dropped the rude garments 
that concealed his finer and higher nature at 
the portals. 

'^Miss Grace; Miss Grace, why did you 
ever come to a place like this/' were his first 
words. '' If the master had been alive he 
would not have suffered it." 

^' Very probably not," she answered. " He 
would have come for me in that case ; now I 
am alone, I have no one." 

^'"Why did you demean 3^ourself for the 
likes of me ? " he asked. 

'-'- 1 am not demeaning myself," she re23lied, 
'-^ and I came to see you because, guilty or in- 
nocent, I cannot forget the past." 

" I am not guilty, jMiss Grace." 

^^ On your solemn word, Amos." 

^^ If I was standing before my Maker, face to 



In the Night- Watches, 239 



face, as I believe I soon shall," he said rising, 
and lifting his hand reverently above his 
head, ^' I am not guilty in deed of the black 
villain's death. I do not go so far as to say," 
he went on, dropping his hand and resuming 
his seat, like one too weak to remain long 
standing, '^I never wished him dead. I 
tave often ; and even now I can hardly feel 
sorry that he has been struck down. I have 
been a murderer in my heart. Miss Grace ; I 
don't deny it. Many and many a night when 
I have been tramping home through the wet 
and the mud — empty of food and sick with 
sorrow, — I have thought if I coukljust hear he 
had taken the fever, or broken his neck, or 
been upset and drowned, I could have made 
myself content to leave the old place — and 
Ireland, — and go away to the country I said I 
never could thole to be banished to. But 
now," he added after an expressive pause, 
'' I shall never have the chance ; I shall never 
go anywhere but from here to the Court, and 
from the Court back here ; and from liere 
to—" 



240 The EarPs Promise, 

He covered liis face. A man may be brave 
enough, and yet weak as a child when he tries 
to speak of an ordeal such as this. 

For a minute Grace did not speak ; she 
could not for the tears she was trying to 
restrain. Then she said, " Amos ! " and he 
lifted his head. 

^' Yes, Miss Grace." 

^' Before God you are innocent ? " 

" I have said so once, Miss ; there is no need 
in my saying so twice ; for if you don't believe 
me at my first telling, you won't believe me at 
my second." 

'^I beg your pardon," she said gently, 
" I did believe you the first time. I ought 
not to have tried to make assurance doubly 
sure. More than that, before I ever came 
here I felt you were innocent, and if it 
is possible for me to save you, I will do 
it." 

''Miss Grace," he answered, ''you mean 
kindly, but you may be doing me a deadly 
hurt. I have been facing certain death since I 
came here,* and its bitterness is almost past. 



In the Night- Watches, 241 



If you drag me back, even for a bit, I must go 
througli it all again." 

It was a homely way of expressing the 
cruelty of raising false hopes ; but Grace un- 
derstood his meaning perfectly. 

^' I am rich," she faltered, feeling the error 
she had committed. 

" Money won't do it," he answered. 

" I have many friends possessed of in- 
fluence." 

^' Influence can't save me. There is only 
one thing could help me, Miss Grace ; and I 
need not trouble you with talking about that, 
because I know no more than the child still un- 
born who killed the man. I have sat here 
and gone over, and over, and over the story, 
and can make neither head nor tail of it. All 
I am sure of is, I had no act or part in the 
murder ; and how my stick came to be where 
they say it was found is beyond me, for I lost 
it the night before ; and I never was near the 
divisional road at all." 

''What does Mr. D'Almarez say?" asked 
Miss Mofi'at." 

VOL. III. R 



242 The Earths Pro?nise. 



^' He says nothing, except ^ tell me the truth,' 
as if a man in my strait would be likely to tell 
his attorney a lie." 

'^ And what does he think about your having 
lost your stick ?" 

''He just thinks I never lost it, because 
when he asked me about the places I had 
been the day before, I couldn't mind. I have 
been that perplexed, Miss, since Lady Jane 
died, my memory won't serve me as it used." 

''But surely, Amos, with trying, you might 
recollect." 

"I have minded a good many. I was at 
Eosemont to try to get speech of Mr. Eobert ; 
and at the office ; and at the Glendare Arms, 
where a stranger man, seeing I was in trouble, 
treated me to a glass, bad luck to it ! for I 
had not broken my fast, and the liquor got 
into my head ; and I said things about Brady 
they're going to bring up again me at the 
trial ; and then I stopped at a heap of places 
besides, but I can't mind just where, except 
that at the last I called at Hanlon's surgery 
for some stuff for the lad. I didn't forget that. 



In the Night- Watches. 243 

because lie went on at me for having had too 
much, and made me mad because he wouldn't 
believe me I had only had one glass to over- 
come me — me — who could once have taken off 
half-a-dozen without winking. 

^^ And on the day of the , on the day 

when Mr. Brady was killed?" Grace persisted. 

^^"Well, Miss, I was that beat from the day 
before, I did not stir out till evening ; and I 
would not have gone then, but the wife she 
would have me go to Kingslough and tell the 
doctor the boy was worse. So I went there 
and he was out, and I left my message ; and 
in the ordinary way I should have come 
straight home, but I thought I would go round 
by Mark Lennon's, and tell his daughter we 
had a letter from him she's promised to ; 
but before I got there I turned that bad and 
weak, I thought to make my home as fast as 
I could, and so came across the fields and the 
Eed Stream ; and they make that a charge 
against me too. Miss Grace, because, as you 
know, the colour of the clay there is the same 
as the colour of the clay in the water 



244 ^/^^ EarPs Promise. 

alongside the divisional where Brady was 
found." 

In spirit, Grace groaned. She believed the 
man was speaking truly, but what jury on 
earth would believe it also ! There was not a 
point in his favour. Every statement he made 
told against him. He could not say where he 
lost his stick. He could not say where he had 
been to lose it. He could not account for his 
time after he left Kingslough on the night of 
the murder. As to the place where he got the 
mud found on his clothes, there was only his 
own word, and of what value is the word of an 
accused man. Even his own wife imagined 
him guilty. IN'o one in the world, save Grace 
Moffat, imagined it within the bounds of 
possibility that, though circumstantial and 
internal evidence were all against him, he 
might yet be innocent ; and it was just on the 
board that had she lived in Ireland for the 
previous twelve months, and seen his animus 
to Mr. Brady growing day by day, she might 
have believed him guilty too. 

"All I can say," she remarked, as she rose 



In the Night- Watches, 245 

to leave, ^'is this; you shall have the best 
counsel money can procure." 

''Thank you kindly, Miss," he answered, 
"but, as I said before, money can't do it, and 
man can't do it, let him be the best ever 
stepped in shoe leather ; and if God does not 
do it, and in these later days, as our minister 
used to say, he has not seen fit to work visible 
miracles, I must suflPer, Miss Grace ; that is all. 
I have made my mind up to that now he is 
dead, as I never could to giving up the farm 
while he was living." 

'' Amos," said Miss Moffat, " do not let what 
your minister said impress you too much. 
God does still work miracles, or what seem 
miracles to us ; and if he sees fit he will clear 
you from this." 

" And if He does not see fit, Miss Grace, 
I must just thole what He sends ; that is all. 
You can say that to the wife if you have a 
chance. Do you happen to know. Miss, how 
it is with Eeuben ?" 

For a moment Grace faltered ; then she 
said, — 



246 The EarPs Promise. 



"Whatever else you are spared to see in 
this world I am afraid — " she paused, and he 
calmly finished the sentence. 

"I won't see him. Well then, Miss, it 
may be we shall meet all the sooner, Eeuben 
and me, when he will know that wrongfully 
blood-guiltiness was laid to my charge." 

Mr. D'Almarez made no secret of his 
chagrin at the result of this interview, and 
it taxed his politeness sorely to listen to 
Miss Moffat's account of it with even ordinary 
patience. 

He had hoped that to her Scott would 
speak openly. He had expected to obtain 
some information which might bring the crime 
under the head of accident rather than design, 
and enable him to fight for a verdict of man- 
slaughter instead of murder. It was known 
to every one in the county that Mr. Brady 
had not treated the man well ; and if Scott 
could only be got to state what actuallj^ passed 
on the last occasion he and his eneni}^ ever 
met, the lawyer felt something might be done, 
supposing the blow had been struck without 



In the N'ight- Watches. 247 

premeditation, and that high and passionate 
words had preceded it. 

If a jury could be argued or coaxed into 
believing Scott did not leave his hoDie with 
the deliberate intention of murdering Mr. 
Brady, the man's chance was by no means 
hopeless; and there was this in his favour, that 
the owner of Maryville had actually on the 
day of the murder started to go to Dublin, 
although for some unexplained reason he failed 
to continue his journey, so that it was un- 
likely Scott could have expected to meet him 
near the Castle Farm. 

On the other hand, it was against the ac- 
cused that he knew Mr. Brady intended to 
eject him from the house — that he had pub- 
licly stated, '-'- Brady should never come into it 
alive," and that he expressed his intention of 
sticking to the old place even if it was pulled 
down about his ears. 

Still, considering what Mr. Brady had been, 
and the amount of fancied or real injury he 
inflicted on Amos, considering that the one 
man had always been a dishonest reprobate, 



248 The EarPs Promise. 

and the other a hard-working decent, well- 
conducted fellow, who never cheated a neigh- 
bour of a halfpenny; that he had a son down 
in fever, and children clamouring for bread ; 
that he might well be nearly distraught 
with want of food, and mental anguish ; con- 
sidering what a picture a clever barrister 
might fill in from these outlines, Mr. D'Al- 
marez did not despair of doing something for 
Scott, if only he could be induced to confess. 
And now it seemed he did not intend to con- 
fess; and the lawyer, chafing with irritation, 
had to sit and listen to a woman's maunderings 
about innocence and Scott's religious utter- 
ances and other matters of the same kind, all 
of which Mr. D'Almarez mentally summed up 
in one word, ^^ Eubbish ! " 

'^ It is all very well. Miss Mofi'at" he said, 
when she finished, "for Scott to talk goody 
twaddle — excuse the expression — to a lady or 
a parson; but that sort of thing will not go 
down with a judge or a jury. He mistakes 
his position ; the period has not yet arrived for 
that kind of conversation. Time enough for 



In the Night- Watches, 249 



religious exercises when lie lias clone with, 
lawyers and been turned over to the chaplain. 
You must pardon my plain speaking. The 
only hope there is of saving Scott lies with 
himself, and if he will persist in trying to 
hoodwink me and playing at this foolish game 
of hide-and-seek with his own attorney, I am 
afraid there is not a chance of saving him." 

^^But, Mr. D'Almarez," pleaded Grace, 
'^ suppose the man has nothing to tell, sup- 
pose he is not guilty, suppose he has really 
tried to make his peace with God, expecting 
nothing from man, and that every word he 
said to me to-day were true, the natural expres- 
sion of a broken and a contrite heart, in which 
not a hope, so far as this world is concerned, 
still lingers ? " 

The lawyer smiled. It was very right and 
proper, of course, for a lady to talk in this 
strain, but it was a style of conversation for 
which he himself did not much care, and very 
possibly had Miss Moffat been older and uglier 
and poorer, he might not have listened to it 
even with the amount of politeness he evinced. 



250 The EarPs Promise. 

^^I cannot suppose an impossibility," lie 
answered. '^Your own kindness of disposi- 
tion and Scott's solemn assertions have, you 
must allow me to say, blinded your judgment. 
If you exercise it you will understand that 
it is a simple impossibility for Scott to be in- 
nocent. He may be innocent of intentional 
murder, and that is the only point we can try 
to make in his favour, but his hands are not 
clean in the matter as he tries to make us 
believe. 

^^ Eemember the hatred he entertained for 
Mr. Brady, recollect all he had suffered through 
him, recall the expressions he was habituall}^ 
in the practice of using concerning him, the 
threats he uttered not farther back than the 
day before the murder, and then pass on to the 
murder itself. Mr. Brady is found dead in a 
lonely road leading straight to the Castle Farm. 
He has been killed by a blow, and that blow it 
is not disputed must have been dealt by a stick, 
and that stick one belonging to Scott, which is 
found at a little distance as if flung away in a 
panic. According to Scott's own account he was 



In the Night- Watches, 251 

not in the divisional road at all that night, and 
yet it was the most direct route back from Mr. 
Hanlon's, where he admits he called. He says 
he started to go round by Lennon's, but he 
never went there. He says he lost his stick 
on the previous day, but he does not know 
where or how, and he cannot even remember 
the places at which he stopped, or whether he 
missed his stick before his return home, or 
whether he ever missed it till it was found 
after the murder. 

"Further, admitting he did lose it, there is 
no particular reason why he should not have 
found it again. jSTor does the evidence against 
liim stop even at this point. It is certain his 
clothes were wet, and stained with clay of a 
reddish colour. The banks and bed of the 
stream running beside the divisional road 
are, as you know, of that description. Depend 
upon it. Miss Moffat, Scott is throwing away 
his best chance by persisting in silence. No- 
thing in my opinion really can serve him 
except opening his mouth." 

" I admit the truth and reason of all you 



252 The EarPs Pro7nise. 

say," she replied, ^^but faith is sometiines 
stronger than reason, and I have faith Scott is 
not guilty." 

^^Unfortunately a jury have to decide on facts, 
not faith," said Mr. D'Almarez rising to take 
his leave. '^Of course, I shall do all in my power 
for him, and if he is found guilty, we must try 
to prevent his being hung ; but I really think 
if he would only have placed full confidence in 
me, we might have got him off with only a 
sentence of manslaughter. Perhaps he may 
still think better of it." 

" No," Grace answered, ^' I do not think he 
will — I hope he cannot. If after what he said 
to me to-day he were to confess that he did 
cause Mr. Brady's death, I should never be 
able to believe any one again." 

^' Ah ! Miss Moffat, you do not know how 
great the temptation is to tell a falsehood if 
one is afraid of telling the truth. I do not quarrel 
with his statements on the ground of morality, 
but only on that of common sense ; but then 
that is lawyer's way of looking at such things. 
It is not to be expected that a lady should take 



In the Night' Watches. 253 



the same view. I trust it may all turn out 
better than I anticipate." 

Miss Moffat drove back to Maryville in a 
very sad and perplexed state of mind ; she had 
seen none of her friends at Kilcurragh, except 
that one at whose house her interview with Mr. 
D'Almarez took place, and she had no desire to 
see them. Amos Scott's position would, she 
knew, be the prominent topic of interest, and 
she did not possess sufficient moral courage 
to desire to combat popular opinion single- 
handed. 

The more she thought about the matter the 
more conclusive seemed the lawyer's statements. 
Notwithstanding her own determined advo- 
cacy, she felt that away from Amos her belief 
in his innocency was not strong enough to 
enable her to discard the extremely ugly 
doubts raised in her mind by Mr. D'Almarez's 
statement of the case. 

Scott might believe that his sole chance of 
escape lay in reiteration of his innocence, and 
if this were so. Miss Moffat felt she could 
forgive his falsehood. What she couUl not 



254 The EarPs Promise, 

forgive, however, was his religious hypocrisy 
supposing his statement untrue, and with 
feminine impetuosity she rushed to this con- 
clusion — 

^' If Amos be guilty he is the worst man in 
the world." 

As there had been nothing in the conver- 
sation of a confidential nature, Grace repeated 
it to Mrs. Brady, merely omitting Scott's 
remarks about the dead man. 

In silence Nettie listened to the end, then 
she asked, — 

•^Are you sure he said he could not 
remember where he left that stick ?" » 

''Yes; he cannot even recollect where he 
went the day he lost it." 

''That seems strange, does not it?" 

" I think not, if you consider what ho has 
gone through. He looks starved and ill, and 
bewildered. Oh ! Nettie, the Scotts must have 
suffered terribly. ' ' 

" I suppose so," said Mrs. Brady absently, 
as she sat looking out of the window with sad, 
weary, wistful eyes; and finding she showed 



In the Aught- Watches. 255 

no desire to continue the subject, her friend let 
it drop. Suddenly, however, Nettie rose, threw 
her clasjDed hands above her head, and, with a 
sigh which was almost a groan, hurriedly left 
the room. 

Miss Moffat had become too much ac- 
customed to these demonstrations of restlessness 
or grief, or whatever else the cause might be, 
to attach much importance to them, but still 
she thought it better to follow Nettie whom 
she found in her own room sobbing as if her 
heart would break. 

Grace softly closed the door, and left her. 

"Let her cry, poor thing," she thought. 
"It will do her good. After all, no matter 
what he may have been, he was her 
husband." 

For the first time since her retui-n to Ireland 
Grace that night slept soundly; slept a sleep 
unbroken by dreams ; undisturbed by the per- 
plexities that troubled her waking moments. 

How long she had been in bed she could not 
tell, but at length from this depth of uncon- 
sciousness she was slowly aroused by little 



256 The EarPs Pro7nise. 

fingers that spread themselves over her face 
and hail', by a childish voice crying, — 

^^ Oh ! lady, please waken, please, please do." 

Thus entreated, the " lady," for by this name 
Nettie's more especial favourite had elected 
to call Miss Moffat, struggled back to a due 
remembrance of where she was. 

''What is it?" she asked between sleeping 
and waking. 

''Mam-ma, oh! Mam-ma she frightens 
Minnie," explained the little one. 

With an effort Grace roused herself fully. 

"Minnie darling, is that you?" she asked, 
taking the child in her arms. "What has 
frightened you?" 

" Mam-ma," repeated the shrill treble. 
" She talks so funnily — " 

In an instant Grace had on her slippers and 
dressing-gown. 

" I will go to your mam-ma, dear," she 
said ; " but you must be very good and stay 
quietly here and go to sleep." 

Then she laid the little creature's head on 
her own pillow, folded the sheet under her 



In the Nisfht' Watches, 257 



'ty' 



chin, gave her a parting kiss, and went into 
the next room closing the door behind her. 

Dawn was just breaking, and without strik- 
ing a light, Grace walked over to where Mrs. 
Brady lay, moaning and tossing, muttering 
words too indistinct to catch. 

" Nettie," and her friend shook her vi- 
gorously; ^^ Nettie," — but no sign of recogni- 
tion came. '-^ Nettie dear, do speak to me," — 
not a word of reply was uttered. 

For a moment Miss Moffat stood helpless, 
then she went to that part of the house where 
she supposed Susan slept. 

''I am so sorry to disturb you," she said, 
after awaking the woman, with that coiu'- 
tesy which was a part of her nature when 
addressing those below her in rank, ^'but I 
fear Mrs. Brady is very ill. Do you think 
you could go to the house of one of the men 
and send him for Dr. Girvan ? " 

'• What is the matter with her ? " asked 
the woman brusquely. 

'' I cannot tell ; she is moaning and restless 
and docs not seem to know me in the least." 

VOL. III. s 



258 The EarPs P. 



roniise. 



^^It's the fever, God help iis," said Susan. 
'^ I'll waste no time, but go for the doctor 
myself." 

"' What ! in the middle of the night ?" ex- 
claimed Grace. 

^^ Ay, just as soon as if it was in the middle 
of the day," she answered, and proved as good 
as her word. 

It was a long walk and a lonely to Kings- 
lough, but Susan accomplished it, and brought 
back Doctor Girvan by the time the sun was 
rising. 

Miss Moffat went down to speak to him, and 
asked Susan to stay with her mistress for a 
few minutes while she did so. Then the doc- 
tor said he would see the patient; and as 
Grace walked up and down the once neglected 
garden trifling away the time, he went into 
Mrs. Brady's room, the servant crossing him on 
the threshold. 

He remained there a quarter of an houi' or 
more, and when she met him Miss Moffat saw 
he looked ill at ease. 

^^Do you think there is anything serious 
the matter with her ? " she asked anxiously. 



In the Night- Watches. 259 

^'I cannot tell — yet," he replied. ''You 
have been with her all night ? " he said in- 
terrogatively. 

'' Yes, since I first Ivnew she was ill." 

'' ]N'o one must go into the room but yourself 
and me." 

''Why not?" 

" You will know time enough. Amos 
Scott never murdered her husband at all." 

" Then who did?" 

" If you listen she will tell you." 

And Doctor Girvan, looking grey and old 
and haggard in the morning light, drove away 
so utterly amazed and horror-stricken at Mrs. 
Brady's ravings that he forgot, if the fever 
were infectious. Miss Mofiat stood a very fair 
chance of catching it herself. 



s:i 



26o 



CHAPTEE XII. 

TWO INTERVIEWS. 

It was a heavy oppressive afternoon — over 
Maryville a storm was brooding — the leaden 
sky seemed almost to touch the tops of the 
dark trees that hemmed in the house and 
grounds so closely that they might well have 
been likened to prison walls; not a sound 
within or without broke the stillness ; in the 
fields the cattle lay panting with the heat ; in 
the woods the bii'ds kept silence, listening 
perhaps for the first roll of thunder, following 
swift after the leaping lightning. 

It was a day to take the spirit out of imy 
one, and Grace Moffat, as she sat alone in the 



Two l7iterzn'eii)s. 16 1 



large drawing-room, still insufficiently fur- 
nished, though, some attempt had been made 
to fill its emptiness, felt miserable and de- 
pressed to a degree of utter wretchedness. 

She had made up her mind what she ought 
to do, but she still hesitated and shivered at the 
idea of doing it. ITettie had been seriously- 
ill for two days, and there could be no question 
that, although her malady had been at first 
merely inflammation of the brain, her disease 
was now complicated with the fever raging at 
the Castle Farm. 

But Grace did not care for that — a new 
horror had cast out the old. If she had only 
been able to shake off the last task set for 
her, she would cheerfully have run the risk of 
contracting a dozen fevers ; she had en- 
treated Doctor Girvan to take it out of her 
hands, but he shook his head. 

^' Leave it till she gets better ; there is 
time enough," he said, but Grace knew there 
was not time enough — that what she had to 
do ought to be done at once. 

Sometimes she thouglit of writiui^ to Lord 



262 The EarPs P> 



roviise. 



Ardmorne and requesting his advice and 
assistance in the matter; but having learnt all 
she knew through the delirious utterances of 
an unconscious woman, she felt herself charged 
with the weight of a fearful secret, which she 
was bound in love and honour to bear alone. 

As for her tending J^ettie without assistance, 
Dr. Girvan's medical sense had told him any 
such proceeding was impracticable, quite as 
soon as Grace's common sense had told her 
the same thino;. 

Without going through the ceremony of 
consulting him. Miss Moffat had despatched a 
messenger for her own little maid, mentioned 
once before in these pages. 

^' I want you to help me nurse Mrs. Brady, 
who is ill with FEVER," she wrote. '' If you are 
afraid, do not come." 

Back with the messenger, bundle in hand, 
came Nancy, trim and pretty as ever, radiant 
with delight at seeing her former mistress 
once more. 

^•"What did your mother say, IN'ancy?" 
asked Grace, looking at the bright young face 



Tiw Litervieivs. 263 



not without a certain feeling of remorse for 
having brought it to a house where death 
might be lurking for its owner. 

^^ Say, Miss— nothing, to be sure; wasn't I 
coming to you! " 

Miss Moffat walked to the window and back 
again, thinking in what form of words to tell 
the girl what she wanted with her. 

'^K'ancy," she began, ^^ if it had been only 
to nurse Mrs. Brady I required help, I would 
never have asked you to help me. Plenty of 
women older and more experienced than you 
could have been found for such a duty, but 
what I really require is a person whom I can 
trust to keep silence. I want you to promise 
me that to no human being now or hereafter — 
unless I give you leave — you will ever men- 
tion a word of what you may hear in Mrs. 
Brady's room." 

'^I'll be true to you, Miss Grace, what you 
bid me I will do ; it's my right and my plea- 
sure too." 

Infancy had not been ten minutes installed in 
the sick room before Susan asked to speak a 
word with Miss Moffiit. 



264 The EarPs Promise, 



^^Now that you're getting your own ser- 
vants here, Miss," she began, '^ you'll likely 
not be wanting me any longer, and I just 
want to say I'll go without any telling, if 
you like." 

'' I am not getting my own servants here," 
said Miss Moffat, bewildered at the sudden turn 
affairs had taken. " I do not want to meddle mth 
the arrangements of any other person's house ; 
but I cannot nurse Mrs. Brady alone, you 
must know that, and I want to have some one 
with me I can trust." 

" You might have trusted me. Miss," said 
the woman, with a smouldering fire in her dark 
eyes. '^The Lord knows you might. Even 
though you have done this thing and brought 
a stranger to this sorrowful house, man nor 
woman shouldn't ^Ting from me what I know, 
nor — " she added after a pause, devoted pos- 
sibly to conjuring up an effective finish to her 
sentence, " wild horses shouldn't tear it. I 
never did like the mistress, for all her pretty 
face and quiet ways ; but I came nearer liking 
her the other morning than ever I did before, 



Two hiterviews, 265 



wlien I found out how the trouble had been 
eating in like rust, when I heard her letting 
out everything she would have bitten her 
tongue off before she would have spoken in 
her right mind. It was her silence always beat 
me ; but I'd have nursed her better than that 
slip of a thing can do, and I'd have died, Miss, 
before I let on she had been talking of any- 
thing beyond the common." 

Miss Moffat stood silent for a moment, then 
she said, — 

*' I think open speaking is always a good 
thing. So far as I am concerned I should be 
quite willing to trust you. I have been so 
sure of your good faith, I never asked whether 
Mrs. Brady had been talking strangely after I 
left her and went down to Doctor Girvan, 
but— I do not want to hurt your feelings — 
how was it possible for me to let you nurse 
her ? Do not imagine I am setting myself up 
as a judge of you or anybody else ; all I ask is, 
if you had been in her place should you have 
liked such an arrangement yourself? " 

The woman did not answer direct, but she 
broke forth, — 



266 The EarPs Promise, 



" Do you want me to leave ? I was fond of 
the children. I did my best by them, I am 
doing all I know how now." 

^^ISTo," Miss Moffat replied ; '' I do not want 
you to leave ; at present, I may tell you, it 
would inconvenience me beyond expression if 
you were to do so. When Mrs. Erady is 
better, no doubt she will wish you to go. I 
say this frankly, but when that day comes, if 
you want a chance for the future, if you want 
to wipe out the past and try to make a better 
thing of the rest of your life, I will help 
you." 

This time the answer came quick and sharp. 
^^ If there were more ladies like you, there 
would be fewer women like me," said the 
poor sinful creature ; her assurance vanquished, 
her insolence gone, — and, throwing her apron 
over her head, she went along the stone passage 
leading to the kitchen, sobbing — sobbing every 
step of the way. 

Which evidence of contrition touched Miss 
Moffat beyond expression, and gave her much 
hope concerning Susan's future. She had 



Tii^o Intervieivs. 267 



learned many things during the previous 
twelve months, but she had still to be taught 
that repentance for past errors is not by any 
means a guarantee for future good beha- 
viour; that the tears wept over a crime 
committed and irrevocable, dry up almost as 
soon as shed, and form no lake of bitterness 
across Avhich humanity finds almost insu- 
perable difficulty in steering to another sin. 

Nevertheless, to be done with the subject, 
it may as well be here stated that Miss 
Moffat's generosity and Susan's impressibility 
between them bore good fruits. 

The woman sinned no more. To the end 
of her life she was perhaps scarcely a desirable 
person to know, but she married respectably a 
man who was acquainted with her antecedents, 
and the pair migrated to a strange country, 
where their children and their children are 
working their way to name and fortune. 

So goes the world — the busy, busy world 
we live in. How would the Puritan Fathers 
have looked upon the man who should marry 
a woman notable for antecedents such as 
these? 



2 68 The EarPs Promise. 

Still Grace sat looking out at the funereal 
trees, at the garden full of flowers, — the com- 
mon sweet-scented perennial flowers, — which 
made many an otherwise poor home so rich 
in colour and perfume before the present 
bedding-out system was invented by ingenious 
and enterprising nurserymen, — still she cast 
an occasional glance at the threatening sky; 
her thoughts divided the while between the 
murdered man Avho lay in a quiet little bury- 
ing ground amongst the hills, — his day ended 
while it was still high noon, his power for evil 
over, his ability to vex and distress gone, — 
and the person who had dealt the blow which 
silenced the beating of that wicked heart, 
ended all its schemes, plots, hopes, purposes for 
ever. 

As yet she had not written to Mr. D' Almarez ; 
she had done nothing but think what had best 
be attempted in the matter — what it was 
possible to perform. 

As to allowing things to remain as they 
were till Nettie got better, she put that idea 
aside as out of the question. To Doctor 



Two Intervieivs, 269 



Girvan it appeared the only course to pursue ; 
but then he shrank from responsibility. He 
was old, broken, feeble, and possessed of little 
moral courage ; all his life long his role had 
been to know nothing, and pass from house to 
house leaving the secrets of each behind him, 
and why should he mix himself up with 
trouble and mischief now ; or allow Miss 
Moffat to mix herself up in such an affair, if 
he could avoid doing so? 

Grace, on the contrary, blamed herself for 
having permitted her own fears and disinclina- 
tion to take so serious a responsibility on her 
own shoulders to influence her for such a 
length of time. 

'^ If I can keep my own share in the transac- 
tion secret," she thought, ^^ I. should like to do 
so; but if not, and that unpleasant consequences 
ensue, I shall face them bravely as I am able. 
I wonder whether I could be punished. I 
wish I dare ask Mr. D'Almarez. Shall I write 
and put the question to Mi'. Nicholson ? No. 
I must wait no longer, whatever comes of it ; 
no more time ought to be lost." 



270 TJie EarPs Promise, 



At this moment some one knocked gently 
on the panel of the cbawing-room door, and 
thinking it could only be Susan or Mary, Miss 
Moffat said, ^' Come in," without turning her 
€yes from the window. 

[N'ext moment, however, some indescribable 
feeling imj^elled her to look round, and there 
standing in the open doorway, like a picture in 
a frame, was a tall bearded man who appeared 
as much astonished to see her as she was at 
sight of him. 

^^I beg your pardon," he said, ''but I 
expected to find Mrs. Brady here. I asked for 
her and the servant pointed to this door." 

''Mrs. Brady is dangerously ill," Grace 
replied; "with fever," she added, seeing the 
stranger advance into the room; then a 
second's doubt and hesitation, and she ex- 
claimed, holding out her hand, — 

" Why, it must be John Eiley !" 

"And you," he said, after an almost 
imperceptible pause, "must be Miss Moffat, 
though I should scarcely have known you." 

"I have had little rest and much anxiety 



Tvoo Interviews. 271 



since I returned to Ireland," slie answered, as 
if apologizing for the change in her appearance. 
He smiled gravely; it was not the right 
time, and he was not the right person, to tell 
her she had altered almost beyond his recogni- 
tion, merely because she was now the most 
beautiful woman he had ever met. 

" I thought you were in England," he said, 
putting aside the dijficulty by changing the 
subject. 

'^ So I was," she replied,' ^' until very lately. 
I came over here directly I heard about Mr. 
Brady, and I am glad I did come, for Mrs. 
Erady is very lonely and very ill. And that 
reminds me you ought not to stay here." 
^^ Why not?" 
^'' For fear of infection." 
^' I have lived in a climate where fever is so 
common people forget to fear it," he said. 

'' But Mrs. Eiley and your sisters have not," 
she suggested. 

"I am not staying at Woodbrook," he 
answered. ^'I am at Lakemount, and the 
long ride back there will rid me of infection if 
I catch any here." 



272 The EarPs Promise, 

ISTot at Woodbrook ! Time was when Grace 
would have asked him the why and the where- 
fore of such an extraordinary proceeding, but 
she could not do this now. IN'either could he 
tell her what a grievous disappointment his 
return home had proved ; how terrible that life 
of shortness, meanness, discontent, complaining, 
had seemed to him after the wider and nobler 
career his Indian experience had opened to 
him. He had done for his family all a man 
could, and his family were dissatisfied with his 
efforts. ]^ot merely were affairs no better than 
when he went away, but they ^Yere infinitely 
worse. The amount of the mortgage was 
increased, the land was deteriorated in valae, 
the houses and cottages were dilapidated, and 
in many cases almost falling to ruin, whilst 
"Woodbrook itself gave evidence at every turn, 
of neglect ; shortness of money ; lack of spirit 
to improve ; lack of will to make the best of a 
* bad position; lack of faith that time and 
patience and energy might work wonders in 
the way of repairing even the shattered for- 
tunes of the Eiley family. 



Two Interviews. 273 



Naturally, wtien absent, a man forgets the 
failings of those belonging to him, if indeed he 
ever knew them; and perhaps there is no 
greater trial than for a person to return to the 
home of his youth to find it and the people it con- 
tains different from the ideal, experience of the 
world has been gradually working up for him. 

But these were things of which John Eiley 
could not speak to any one. Eight glad had 
he been to accept Lord Ardmorne's invitation, 
and leave Woodbrook for Lakemount. 

^' Deserting his own flesh and blood," said 
Mrs. Eiley. 

^' It does not seem to me that his own flesh 
and blood made things very pleasant for him," 
observed the General, his old spirit roused at 
the implied blame to his son. 

Mr. John Eiley' s visit to Maryville was 
prolonged perforce ; for he had not been seated 
many minutes before a flash of lightning, 
followed by a loud sullen peal of thunder, 
announced that the storm so long thi'eatened 
had come. 

During the time he remained he spoke of 

VOL. III. T 



274 ^'^^ EarPs Promise. 

little, except Nettie ; her position and her 
future prospects. He had been informed there 
was no will, and that, consequently, the eldest 
son taking the freehold property, Mrs. Brady's 
share of her late husband's estate would pro- 
bably be small. 

^^But, of course, all the children being 
young, she will have an allowance for their 
support," finished Mr. Kiley. 

'' Money," thought Grace, ^^ money again." 

Had any one put the question, however, to 
Miss Mofiat, how people are in this world to 
live without money, she might have been 
slightly puzzled to tell them. 

" If there is any way in which I can be of 
assistance to Mrs. Brady, I should regard it 
as a great kindness if you would let me 
know," said Mr. Eiley, when at length he rose 
to go. 

In her friend's name Grace thanked him, 
and then he went on, — 

^' You have warned me against this fever, 
Miss Moffat; but are you not running a 
terrible risk yourself in the matter ?" 



Two Literviews. 275 

^^No," she answered; ^^ I shall not take it." 

"How can you be certain of that?" he 
asked. 

" I have a perfect conviction on the subject," 
she said. " It is not intended I should have 
fever at present." 

"Are you a fatalist?" inquired Mr. Eiley. 

" On some points, yes," she replied, and 
then he went ; and Grace from an upper win- 
dow watched him ride slowly away down the 
avenue, till the gloomy trees, dripping wet 
from the late storm, hid him from her sight. 

For one second after she first recognized 
him, she had felt tempted to show her burden 
to this man who had once loved her, and ask 
him to take its weight and its responsibility. 
Only for one second. The formal Miss Moffat 
with which he addressed her cast the half- 
formed resolution to the winds. 

How could she tell anything of the weary 
days, months, years, in which he had been 
schooling himself to forget the old familiar 
name, and think and speak of her only as Miss 
Moffat ? 

T 2 



276 The EarPs Promise . 

How could she, who had never loved him, 
understand the shock, the surprise, the misery, 
the pleasure, that sudden meeting had proved 
to him ! How was it possible for her to com- 
prehend anything save that he was changed, 
that the John Eiley of her childish and girlish 
recollection was gone as utterly as the years 
which were past ! 

Dimly and yet certainly, watching his figure 
as it slowly disappeared, Grace grasped the 
truth, that when she refused him that evening, 
while the scent of summer flowers was around 
them, and the sea rippled in on the shore, she 
killed the John she had known so long — been 
associated with so intimately. 

That John was dead and buried ; and the 
John Eiley, with the bronzed face and erect 
figure and bushy beard, who had answered her 
greeting so formally, was another man. 

Over this interview, however, Grace had not 
much time to think. Another was impending 
that occupied her mind to the exclusion of 
almost every other topic. 

''Shall I put it off?" she thought; ''the 



Two Litervieivs, 277 



lanes will be wet and the grass soaking." 
And then she put the temptation from her. 

'' It must be done. Supposing I were to 
catch this fever, who would there be to see 
justice done ; to save them both, if possible ?" 

If possible ; she shivered at the suggestion 
contained in the words. 

She went to her room, in a different part of 
the house from where !N"ettie lay ; and putting 
on her travelling-dress, an old bonnet and 
coarse shawl she had found belonging to Mrs. 
Brady, looked in the glass to see if in the dusk 
might hope to pass through Kingslough un- 
recognized. 

'' With a thick veil I think I shall be safe,'' 
she said ; and then she took off the shawl, 
carrying it over her arm, and put a thick lace 
fall in her pocket, and taking the key of a 
side-door with her, passed through one of the 
drawing-room windows into the gardens, and 
so made her way unobserved out of the grounds 
of Maryvillc. 

Once in the fields of the Castle Farm she 
knew every inch of the country, and this 



278 The EarPs Promise. 

knowledge enabled her to reach, by unfre- 
quented roads and by-paths, that part of the 
shore lying beneath the hill on which Bally- 
lough Abbey stood. 

There on a great piece of rock she sat down 
to rest, and wait till the twilight deepened and 
darkened. 

When it was fairly dusk she resumed her 
walk, still along the beach, never entering 
Kingslough till she reached the further end of 
the town, whence through narrow lanes and 
back streets she arrived at Mr. Hanlon's sur- 
gery. 

Her hand trembled so much at first that she 
could not pull the bell. At last she heard it 
tinkle, and to her great relief the door was 
opened by Mr. Hanlon in person. 

^^ I wish to speak to you, if you please," 
she said, in a voice so low and quivering, that 
the poor attempt she made to disguise it was 
unnecessary. 

^^ Certainly ; come in." 

^^ In private," she suggested. 

^' You have come to tell mc some great 



Two Interviews. 279 

secret, I suppose/' lie remarked jocularly ; 
desiring, apparently, to put his tiuiid patient 
at her ease. ^^ Go in there," he added, ^point- 
ing to a parlour beyond the surgery, where he 
had no doubt been reading, for a lamp stood 
on the table, and a book lay open near it. 
^'Now what is it?" he went on, placing a 
chair for his visitor, and taking one himself. 

She did not speak, but turned her head in 
the direction of the door of communication 
which he had left ajar. 

'•If you wish it, by all means," he said, 
answering that look, and he rose and not only 
shut but locked it. 

" Now, what have you to tell me," he 
asked. 

She put back her veil and looked him 
straight in the face. 

As she did so, he shrank as though he had 
received a blow, and every particle of colour 
left him. 

" Miss Moffat ! " he exclaimed. '' You in 
Ireland?" 

"Yes; at Maryville," was her reply. 
■ ' Now, you know why I am liere." 



28o The Earfs Promise. 



'-^ "Wait a minute/' he said, and unlocking 
the door passed out into his surgery. He was 
not a man addicted to stimulants. Even in 
these days he would have been accounted ab- 
stemious, and for those times when temperance 
had scarcely established itself as a virtue, he 
was reckoned, amongst wild young fellows 
who knew no better, and old ones who ought 
to have known better, a milksop who was 
^^ afraid to take his liquor because he could not 
carry it." 

Now, however, he unlocked a cupboard, and 
pouring himself out half a tumbler of raw 
spirit, swallowed it at a gulp ; then he went 
back and said, — 

^^No, Miss Moffat, I do not know why you 
are here ; though I can guess why you might 
have sent some one else." 

'^Who else might I have sent?" she in- 
quired. 

'^ Why there is only one thing now to do, is 
there?" he retorted. 

^' What is that?" 

^^ Give me up as I have lacked courage to 
give myself up," he said desperately. 



Two Interviews, 



2br 



^^ Then yon do not deny it ?" she said. 

^^ Deny it ! Why should I deny it ? Have 
not I known it must come to this some time ? 
Have I ever ceased cursing my own vacillation 
in not going straight away to the inspector 
here, and telling him the whole story ? People 
might have believed me then ; but they will 
never believe me now." 

There was a moment's silence which he 
broke by asking, — 

" How did you get to know about this. Miss 
Moffat?" 

^' Mrs. Brady is too ill to keep many 
secrets," was the reply. 

^' 111 ! what is the matter with her ?" he 
hurriedly inquired. 

^^ Fever." 

^' "Who is attending her ? " 

^^ Doctor Girvan." 

''The old dotard will kill her," he ex- 
claimed. 

"He will do no such thing," answered 
Grace sharply. '' Doctor Girvan will no more 
kill Mrs. Brady than you have killed Eeiibcn 



282 The EarVs Promise. 

Scott. If she clieSj it can only be because 
God willed she was to do so, not because she 
has lacked attention. ^Nevertheless," added 
Grace reflectively, ^' I should have had further 
advice, only I feared — " 

^^ Do not let that consideration influence 
you any longer," he said, ^' I shall give myself 
up in the morning." 

" Why do you say that ?'' 

'^Because there is nothing else to do," he 
answered with a bitter laugh. ^^ Because the 
game is played out, and I may as well throw 
down the cards as have them taken out of my 
hands. 

'' Shall I tell you what you ought to do?" 
asked Miss Moffat. 

'-'- If you will be so good." 

She took no notice of the mocking defiance 
of his tone, the recklessness of his manner 
with which he tried to cover the abject despair 
that was mastering him; but went on, gathering 
courage as she proceeded, — 

^^You ought to leave Kingslough at once. 
Scott can be saved without you; and Mrs. 



Tim Intervieiijs, 283 



Brady's name should be kept out of this 
miserable affair altogether." 

'' She is innocent," he said. ^' Tell me any 
form of words of I can employ, sufficiently 
strong to assure you of that, and I will use 
them." 

Instinctively Grace drew back from the 
subject. ^^ I am very certain she is innocent," 
she replied. '^ I require no assurance on that 
point from any one." 

'^ I beg your pardon and hers," he answered; 
more humbly than he had yet spoken. " You 
are quite right. Miss Moffat," he continued, 
after a moment's pause. ^^ If I stay here I 
may not be able to save my own life. If I 
go I shall spare her — perhaps." 

" There is no perhaps in it. The greatest 
kindness you can do Mrs. Brady is to leave here 
at once." 

^^ Leave, to be brought back," he said. 
^' Fly, to make my return all the worse ? " 

'' There is no occasion for you to be brought 
back," she urged. '^ There is plenty of time 
for you to make youi- way to some country 
where you may be safe for the rest of your life." 



284 The EarPs Pro?nise, 

" There is no time," he said; ^' once Scott's 
innocence is declared, the law will be on my 
track like a bloodhound." 

^^ I have thought it all over," she persisted, 
'* Scott's trial can, I am persuaded, be put off. 
Up to the present time, it may be supposed, no 
one knows anything of this except yourself 
and Mrs. Brady. Mrs. Brady is too ill to give 
evidence. Weeks must elapse before she can 
be questioned. Make use of those weeks. 
Go away as if for a visit, and stay away." 

He put his elbows on the table and covered 
his face with his hands, and, as in some night- 
mare, the whole of his life passed in review 
before him. It had opened with such fair 
prospects ; and behold, this was the end ! He 
had hoped to win wealth, women's smiles, 
golden opinions from his fellows; and the end, 
was a choice of two alternatives: — to remain, 
and, if he escaped the gallows, be sentenced 
to transportation, most probably for life ; or to 
escape, and lead a fugitive existence, under an 
assumed name, for the rest of his days. 

He thought of the sacrifices his father had 
made for him; he thought of the castles his 



Two Interviews, 285 

mother had built with her son's fame, or her 
son's talent, or her son's greatness for the 
foundation-stone of each; he thought of how 
proud he had felt of his own gifts; of how certain 
he had been of achieving success; and now he 
let his hands drop and looked at Miss Moffat 
with a face so white, so haggard, so aged, so 
hopeless, that Grace was forced to turn her 
eyes away. She could not bear to look upon 
a wreck so sudden and so complete. 

^^You ought not to be staying here," he 
said, in a choking voice and with an evident 
effort. "You came by the shore, I suppose? 
You would not mind, perhaps, if I asked leave 
to walk part of the way back with you. I 
mean, you would not feel — afraid." 

"Afraid!" she only spoke that one word, 
but it was enough. He could feel there were 
tears and sorrow, and compassion and regret 
in her tone; tears, sorrow, compassion, and 
regret for him. 

" If you will walk slowly along the beach I 
will follow you," he said. " I — I want to tell 
you how it all happened." 



286 The EarPs P. 



r 07 J use. 



She bowed her head in acquiescence, drew 
the veil over her face once more, and passed 
out silently into the night. 

She had not walked more than halfway to 
Ballylough Head before he was at her side. 

"Without waiting for him to speak, she said, — 

^' I do not know, Mr. Hanlon, whether you 
have a sister." 

Under the circumstances it seemed to him a 
curious question, but he answered,^ — 

^' I have." 

^'Before you tell me anything, I want to 
know if I may, without giving you offence, 
speak to 3^ou as your sister if she were here 
might, and would ?" 

^'If one of my sisters were speaking to me 
now," he replied, ^'she would not, I am 
very sure, find much to say that was pleasant. 
They have built their hopes on me, and now — 
but go on, Miss Moffat, say anything you like, 
no matter how true it may be, I will try to 
bear it." 

^^You mistake me a little, I think," she 
said; ''all I meant was that if a sister found 



Two Intervieivs. 287 



her brother in a sore strait as you are now, she 
would speak to him with no more reserve than 
I am about to do. Ever since I knew of this 
matter I have been thinking how it will be 
best for you to get away ; what it will be best 
for you to do when you have got away. I 
suppose I am right in imagining you might 
find a difficulty in finding the means at once 
for a long journey." 

^^I have done very well at Kingslough," he 
replied, '^and if I could only sell my practice, 
and I had an ofi'er for it not long since, I should 
have no difficulty in going to the uttermost 
ends of the earth." 

^^Yes, but by the time you had sold your 
practice it might be too late. If you can get 
any friend to take your place while you go 
away apparently for a holiday, you had better 
leave everything just as it is at this moment. 
Woman's wit is quick, Mr. Hanlon, if it be 
not very profound, and my wit tells me every 
hour you lose in quitting Kingslough may 
prove nearer — nearer — that which we all want 
to avert. I have very little money here, but I 



288 The EarPs Promise. 



can send you a letter which will enable you to 
get all you may require. You are not offended 
I hope?" she went on hurriedly ; ^' I know you 
cannot escape without sufficient money to do 
so, and it will be the happiest day of my life 
when I hear you have got safely out of the 
country." 

All the manhood which was in him rebelled 
against having to accept such help as this; and 
for a moment he bared his head and let the 
cool night wind play upon his temples to 
relieve the pain which seemed tearing his 
brain to pieces. !Never had Theophilus Hanlon 
seemed such a poor creature to himself before; 
no, — not even when he fled from the side of 
the man he had murdered ; never had he been 
thoroughly humbled in his own estimation 
previously. If she had loved him ; if he could 
only for one moment have flattered himself she 
cared for him more than for the most ordinary 
acquaintance, the stab might not have pierced 
so deep. 

As it was, he felt the wound was bleeding 
internally, and that it would continue to bleed 
at intervals throughout all the years to come. 



Two Interviews, 289 

^^ I have offended you," she said. ^' Pardon 
my want of tact. I did not mean to hurt your 
feelings." 

^' Hurt my feelings ! " he repeated; in the 
interval during which he remained silent he 
had tested the truth of each word she said, and 
admitted, reluctantly it might be, but still 
certainly, that without such help as she 
offered, liberty and he might shake hands and 
part for ever. ^^ Hurt my feelings ! When a 
man has done what I have done, when he has 
failed to do what I have failed to do, he may 
reasonably be supposed to have no feelings 
left to hui't. And yet, Miss Moffat," he went 
on, ^^I will be frank with you; just for a 
moment your offer cut me. It is so hard — oh ! 
my God," he broke out in a passion of agony, 
*^what had I ever done that such a trouble 
should come upon me ! " 

"Hush! "said Grace. It seemed to her 
excited fancy as if in the darkness, his 
voice must travel more swiftly than in the 
light, to the Throne of Him whose justice and 
righteousness he questioned. '^What have any 

VOL. III. u 



290 TJie EarVs Promise. 

of us done that trouble should not come ? But 
in our eyes it does appear hard," she went on. 
" If you like — if it will not pain you — tell me 
how it all came about." 

" I do not know how it began," he answered. 
^^ I supposed no one ever does. I could no 
more tell you how it was I came to care for 
Mrs. Brady than I could tell you how the grass 
grows, or the sea ebbs and flows. One thing, 
however, I do know, she never cared for me ; 
never in that way. If she had, I should not 
be talking to you here now ; if she had we 
would have been far away from Ireland long 
ago. I did not intend to tell her about it," 
he continued, "but one day it slipped out; and 
then she turned round and laughed in my face, 
such a mocking, despairing, forsaken sort of 
laugh, it rung in my ears for many a week 
after. 

" '- Keep that for the next young girl you 
meet, Mr. Hanlon,' she said, ' who knows no 
better. I have heard it all before. Do you 
suppose I should ever have left my home, 
poor as it was, and my friends, few as they 



Two Interviews. 291 

were, if he had not first thrown that glamour 
over me ? A woman cannot be deceived twice ; 
and there is no vow yon or anybody else 
could swear, no temptation you could hold out, 
that could make me trust my future a second 
time in a man's bauds.' 

^^ She loved her children as I never knew a 
woman love them before, though she was 
afraid to show her affection, lest he should 
find means of punishing her through it ; and 
because I was kind to them, she had a feeling 
for me — gratitude, friendship, trust — I do not 
know what to call it — which would have pre- 
vented her from making any open breach be- 
tween us, even if she had dared to tell her 
husband of the words I had spoken. 

'^But she did not dare to tell him. It was 
cowardly, I make no doubt, not to leave a 
woman so placed ; but except for me she was 
friendless, helpless, in the hands of a demon, 
and I could not keep from trying to know how 
things were with her. 

" They grew worse and worse. After his 
attempt to get General Eiley's estate failed, 



292 The EarPs Pro7nise, 

the life he led his wife baffles description, and 
yet she tried to hide what she suffered from 
every one, even from me. She wanted him to 
leave the country; she thought if she could 
separate him from his bad associates, it might 
be better for the children at any rate, if not 
for her. I have seen her wringing her hands 
about the stories which were told and the 
ballads that were written and sung ; and she 
used to say she hoped it would be all gone 
and past, all forgotten and put out of men's 
minds before the children grew up. 

'-^ ' Por if not,' she asked, ^ what is to be- 
come of them ? ' 

'^ Then I prayed of her again to leave him. 
I offered to get her and the children away 
safely by some means if she would let me 
arrange it all, and take"them where he could 
never find them. 

'^ That time she did not laugh. She began to 
tremble all over, and said, — 

'' ' If you were a woman and made me the 
same offer, I would go this hour ; but if I did 
what you want me, how could I ever look my 



Two Interviews. 293 

boys in the face when they grew to be men — 
how should I teach my girls to be better than 
their mother had been. I would rather kill 
myself than do it. Never ask me such a thing 
again.' 

" I went out of the house ashamed, Miss 
Moffat. I vowed to myself I never would ask 
her again, and I kept as much away as I could 
from Maryville, until after that morning when 
she stole into Kingslough, and, half distracted, 
tried to tear down the bills with which, as you 
have no doubt heard, the town was placarded. 
A man saw and pursued her. I happened to be 
returning from a bad case which had detained 
me all night, and she ran right up against me. 
There was only one thing to do, and I did it. 
I knocked the fellow down, and as she had 
fainted carried her into my surgery. When 
she was better I walked home with her, and 
from that time began the mischief which has 
ended as you know. 

" So far as I could gather, the man I knocked 
down bore malice, and took occasion, when he 
was less than ordinarily sober, to jeer Mr. 



294 ^^^^ EarPs Promise, 



Brady about there being an understanding 
between me and bis wife. Mr. Brady forbade 
me to set foot inside Maryville, and I obeyed 
him until that night. Do I weary yoa ? " 

"No," Grace answered. "I want to hear 
all you haye to tell me. Some day she may be 
glad to have a person near her who knows the 
whole story." 

"The eyening before, Scott had been with 
me. He came in the worse for drink, and 
talked excitedly of the Glendares and Mr. 
Brady and his own ^yrongs. He said when 
Eobert Somerford came to be earl, if he ever 
did, he would not have an acre to call his own ; 
that it had come home to the Glendares as it 
would come home to Mr. Brady ; and then he 
went on in a maundering sort of way to speak 
— forgive my mentioning the matter, but it is 
connected with that which followed — of what 
a blessing it was you had never after all taken 
up, as he styled it, with Mr. Somerford. ' Ay, 
it was a good and honest gentleman the first 
that asked her, if Miss Grace could have fancied 
him. There never was a Eiley, Tories though 



Tii^o Interviews. 295 



they are, would have broken his promise, and 
brought a poor man to beggary, as Th' Airl 
has done by me.' 

^^^But,' he went on, ^ Brady did not get 
"Woodbrook from his wife's cousins, and it's 
like, clever as he thinks himself, he won't have 
the Castle Farm neither.' 

''As the man spoke, it flashed through my 
mind that it was Mrs. Brady who had revealed 
her husband's designs on Woodbrook. I lay 
awake the whole night thinking about it, and 
then I understood dimly, but certainly, that 
when she wished to meet you, it was to tell 
you of his plans, when she wi'ote to you it 
was to entrust you to frustrate them." 

''You are right," Grace remarked as he 
stopped for a moment, living, perhaps, the misery 
of that anxious night over again once more. 

"What I suffered thinking about her and 
her position after that no one can conceive. I 
knew the man's nature. I had seen him 
mentally unclothed, and I was certain all she 
had endured previously at his hands would be 
nothing as compared with what would follow 



296 The EarPs Promise. 

if once a suspicion of the truth entered his 
mind. I felt I must see her once again, and 
warn her of the danger that menaced. 
"Whatever they might have been before, my 
feelings then were unselfish. You believe 
me, Miss Moffat?" 

'-'- 1 do, but pray go on." 
" I knew he intended to go to Dublin the 
next day, and I saw him take the coach at Kil- 
curragh, where I made it my business to be. 
When I returned home, Scott had been round 
to say Eeuben was worse, and so, putting some 
medicine for the lad in my pocket and Scott's 
stick, which he had left in my room the pre- 
vious evening, in my hand, I started for the 
Castle Farm, taking Maryville on my way. I 
did not want any one at the latter place to 
know of my visit. Mr. Brady had put the 
last insult on his wife, and — " 

'' I know," Grace interrupted, '' we need 
not talk of that — " 

'' After making sure there was no one about, 
I went into the flower-garden, and concealing 
myself behind some shrubs, looked into the 



Two Interviews, 297 



room where she generally sat. You know it, 
the small apartment adjoining the drawing- 
room. She was there alone ; and when I 
tapped at the window, seeing who it was she 
came and undid the fastening for me. 

^^ ^I must speak to you,' I said. ' Will you 
come out, or is it safe for me to speak to you 
here ? ' 

^' ^ Quite safe,' she answered, moving the 
candle so that no one from the outside could 
see me where I sat. ^ l^ow, what is the 
mattter ? ' 

*' In a few words I told her what I suspected. 
She said I had guessed rightly. 

^^ ^ Are you not afraid,' I asked, ' of what 
may happen if Mr. Brady ever guesses it 
also ? ' 

^^^No," she said; 'I do not intend to wait 
for that.' 

" ' Do you mean that at last — ' I began, 
scarcely able to believe the evidence of my 
senses, and in that very moment, when as it 
seemed all 1 had wished for was within my 
grasp, feeling a dull sick wish we liad 



298 The EarPs Promise. 

never met, that I had never loved, never 
tempted her. 

^' ' No, Mr. Hanlon/ she answered; there 
was a composure and a peace about her I had 
never seen before; the hard restraint which 
usually characterized her was gone, and as she 
stood with the light streaming on her face, 
there was a hope which never previously shown 
in them gladdening her eyes. ^No, Mr. 
Hanlon, I do not mean that, and some day you 
will be thankful for it. What I mean is this, 
John Eiley has come home. He is in Ireland ; 
I could trust my life in his hands. He will 
protect me ; he will enable me to get free from 
my husband, and to keep my children all to 
myself. If you still wish to serve me, you can 
see him and repeat what I say ; you can tell 
him all — all you have seen in this house, all 
you know I have gone through, and bid him 
find some way of helping me as I found a way 
of helping him and his.' 

^^ We talked for a little time longer, and then 
I left her. As I was going she noticed what a 
heavy stick I carried, and asked with a smile 



Two Intervicim. 299 



sucli as had never lighted up her face in my 
knowledge of it, whether I was afraid of 
being stopped that I walked about with such 
a shillelagh. 

^^ I said it belonged to Amos Scott, who 
had left it at my place the previous night, 
and that I was going to take it to the 
Castle Farm. 

" ^ Thev have fever there ' she remarked. 

^^'Yes, and a very bad fever too,' I said. 
^^ Every word we spoke that night is printed 
on my heart." 

^'^Poor people, how they have suffered!' 
she murmured, in a sort of whisper. ^ Ah 1 
they have felt what it is to be in his power as 
well as I." 

^^As I had come through the gardens, I 
returned by them. It was a quiet beautiful 
night, and not a sound, not even the flight of 
a night-bird broke the stillness. 

^•' I went by the fields to Scott's house, and 
had got as far as the gate leading into the 
orchard, when I heard some one shout ^ Ilalloa ! ' 
and a minute after a man came up panting to 
where I stood. 



300 The EarPs Promise, 

^' It was Brady. 

'^ I want to have five minutes' talk with you, 
sir,' he began, when he had recovered his 
breath a little, ' but not here. Walk on with 
me a bit down the road, where we shall be 
out of the way of eaves-dropping.' 

^^ He had been so lately engaged in the same 
business that the word came naturally to 
him. 

'' To cut a long tale short, Miss Moffat, 
his journey to Dublin had been all a blind. 
He wanted," he said, '' to know if the stories 
he was told of what went on in his absence 
were true, and he had returned to learn more 
than he bargained for. 

" He went on for a time more like a madman 
than anything else ; but at last calmed down 
a little, and said if I would promise him not to 
deliver Mrs. Brady's message he would over- 
look her ^ Judasism ' — so he styled her at- 
tempt to save her friends from ruin. 

" This I flatly refused. I told him she had 
asked me to help her ; and, heaven helping me, 
I would — " 



Tiw Interviews. xoi 



The speaker stopped suddenly — lie had been 
overwrought ; he had been like a horse going 
across country till now ; and now there came 
a double ditch, he remembered he ought not 
to have forgotten. 

^^Miss Moffatj" he slowly recommenced, 
^^ after that came something I hesitate to tell 
you." 

*^ Tell me," she said. ''It does not matter 
that I am young instead of old. If it can help 
Nettie, it cannot hurt me." 

" He bade me take her if she would. He 
said I had his full leave, and free to rid him of 
a wife who had been his curse from the day 
he brought her home — whom he hated — whom 
he might some day, and that soon, be tempted 
to kill." 

'* Yes ! " gasped Grace. 

'' And I said I would rid her of him that 
hour and that minute ; for that I loved, and 
honoured, and respected her too much to make 
her name a bye-word and a reproach, and that 
I would take her straight away from Mary- 
ville to her own kith and kin at Woodbrook^ 



302 The EarVs Pro^nise, 



where there were two men who would know 
how to protect a woman's fair fame from a 
ruffian like himself." 

'' Yes ! '' said Grace again breathlessly. The 
end was at hand. 

'-'- 1 turned to go back to Maryville. I swear to 
you, Miss Moffat, I should never have quitted 
the house, leaving her at his mercy, for I knew 
what she had to expect ; but he barred my 
passage." 

'^ ^ You villain,' he said, ^ you shall never 
stir from here alive.' 

'-'- He put his hand in his pocket — I knew he 
went armed — and so I shortened the stick I 
held, turning it, and struck him over the head 
with the heavy end. 

" I did not try to kill the man, God is my 
witness of the fact. In my examination I 
stated the simple truth. A man who meant 
to do mischief with such a blow could scarcely 
have dealt it. He dropped down on the 
instant, and then a horror seized me. I flung 
away the stick and knelt down beside him, and 
felt his pulse, and laid his cheek to mine. 



Two Interviews. 303 



^^ He was dead, and I had killed him. I 
heard footsteps coming and fled, thinking 
every moment some one was pursuing me. I 
have felt the same thing ever since. To-night 
you, Miss Moffat, have realized the ideal — 
that is, the end of the story I had to tell," he 
said in a low suppressed voice. 

But Grace had something still to ask. 
^^Mr. Hanlon," she began, ^' what did you 
mean to do about Amos Scott ?" 

'-'- 1 meant to let him stand his trial, and if 
they found him guilty — confess." 

'^ You are sure of that ? " 

'' Yes, I think so." 

^^Then I think not, Mr. Hanlon," she 
said. '^ As the temptation mastered you so 
far, it would have mastered you further ; and 
we may all feel very thankful that tlu^ough 
Mrs. Brady's illness, you have been saved from 
so fearful an ordeal." 

The words might be cruel, but the tone in 
which they were uttered toolc all bitterness 
out of them. It conveyed lestr" a reproach for 
his cowardly selfishness than a feeling of 



304 The Earlh Promise, 

gratitude that Scott's torture was -well- nigh 
over, without it being necessary for Mr. Han- 
Ion to criminate himself, or Nettie to denounce 
him. That she woukl have done so eventually, 
Grace could not doubt ; but whether before or 
after the trial was another question. In any 
event it was well neither of them had been 
called upon to save Scott by such extreme 
measures. 

By this time Miss Moffat and her com- 
panion had reached the plantations which 
divided the grounds of Maryville from the 
Castle Farm. 

" Do not come any further," she said 
pausing. '^ I would rather you did not." 

He attempted no remonstrance, but stood 
silent before her. 

^^By eight o'clock to-morrow morning," she 
said, '' the letter I spoke of shall be in your 
hands." 

He did not speak ; he made no sign for a 
moment, then suddenly he broke out wildly, — 

^^ I cannot go ; it is useless. You ask more 
from me than I am able to do." 



Two Interviews, 305 

Utterly astounded ; utterly at a loss as to 
what he meant she remained mute, till sud- 
denly comprehension came to her. 

^^ Surely," she exclaimed, ^^ you cannot be 
so mad as to imagine Mrs. Brady would ever 
voluntarily look upon your face again ! " 

" Forgive me," he entreated humbly. '•^ I 
was no more to blame for that outbreak than 
the patient who shrinks under the sui-geon's 
knife. I know what I have to do, and I will 
do it. May God bless you for helping me 
upon my weary way." 

He was turning to go without further leave- 
taking, when she held out her hand. 

^^Miss Moffat, you forget," he said. 

•' No, I do not forget," she answered. 
^' Take it as a sign that the old has ended and 
the new begun." 

Stooping down, he pressed his lips upon it ; 
then without uttering a word strode back 
along the path he had come. 

She stood till she could distinguish his 
figure no longer, and watched him through 
the darkness drifting out of her life. 

VOL. III. X 



3o6 The EarPs Promise. 

When she reached Maryville, she found Dr. 
Girvan waiting for her. 

^^ I have come to tell you, Miss MojQPat,'^ 
he began, '' that I am ashamed of myself, and 
whatever may come of it, good or harm, I 
will go to him, we both know about, and say 
just whatever you bid me." 

'^ Thank you a thousand times over," she 
answered. ^' But I have been to him to-night, 
and he will leave Xingslough to-morrow." 

'^ God be praised," exclaimed the doctor 
devoutly. 

The opportunity was irresistible to Grace. 

'^ I hope you are not premature in your 
thanksgiving," she said. ^'His successor may 
prove as great a thorn in your side as he has 
done." 

*^ Ah ! how can ye ! " expostulated the old 
man, shaking his head reproachfully at her as- 
he left the room. 



307 



CHAPTEE XIII. 

CONCLUSION. 

It was September — the loveliest montli of all 
the year in Ireland. On the hill-sides the 
ripe corn stood gathered into golden sheaves. 
In the meadows — whence the small stacks had 
just been carried, to make the great ricks 
that caused many an humble farmyard to look 
full and wealthy — cattle browsed the rich pas- 
ture in a very ecstasy of content. Clear and 
distinct the summits of the distant mountains 
could be seen rising to meet the blue cloudless 
sky. Almost without a ripple, the Atlantic 
washed gently into sheltered bays, over 
sandy and pebbly shores. With as easy a 

x2 



3o8 The EarPs Promise. 

flight as that of the sea-birds, the white-sailed 
vessels in the offing cleft their homeward or 
outward way ; whilst, on the hill-tops, the 
purple heather and the yellow gorse mingled 
their colours together, and wild thyme gave 
forth its perfume in solitudes where there was 
no passer-by to inhale its fragrance. 

On the top of a slight eminence, from which 
the ground, clad in a robe of emerald green, 
sloped down to the water's edge, stood a 
lonely-looking house, which commanded a view 
— so its admirers said — of the Atlantic straight 
away to Newfoundland, — two thousand miles 
of ocean without a strip of earth ; two thou- 
sand miles of water resting quiet and silent, 
waiting for the stormy weather, when the 
billows should rise up mountains high, lash- 
ing themselves like a lion in his fury, and 
rushing white crested to devour their prey. 

This house had been taken by Mrs. Hartley 
for the autumn, and to it, by slow stages, Mrs. 
Brady and Grace Moffat were brought lo 
regain health and strength ; the former with 
pale face, and hair cut close like a boy's ; the 



Conclusion, 309 



latter weak as a child, after the mental excite- 
ment and bodily fatigue she had gone through. 

Ey the time Mrs. Brady was pronounced 
out of danger, she had begun to droop ; walk- 
ing about Maryville — so Doctor Girvan said — ■ 
like one more dead than alive, till Mrs. 
Hartley came and put a stop to her exertions. 

It was marvellous to see the change that 
energetic lady wrought in the aspect of affaii's. 
Before a fortnight was over she had dis- 
covered the house I have mentioned, which 
the gentleman who owned was glad to let, 
'-'- in order to have the furniture taken care 
of," was his way of putting it; she had de- 
spatched Marrables, a cook, and her maid to 
have all in readiness for the arrival of the 
invalids ; she had disposed of Nettie's chil- 
dren by sending them to a lady of limited 
income, who was " thankful," so she said, ^^ to 
have it in her power to do anything to oblige 
dear Mrs. Hartley ;" and, finally, she had esta- 
blished herself and party at that precise part 
of the coast where Doctor Murney stated the 
air would be most bracing for Miss MojQPat. 



3IO The EarPs Promise. 

" Of course," said Mrs. Hartley to Nettie, 
" it does not matter to you wliere we go, pro- 
vided we leave Maryville." 

" ISTo," Mrs. Brady answered ; and that 
morning they drove down the gloomy avenue, 
and away from the gates of that house which 
had proved so wretched to her. She waved 
her hand back towards it with a gesture of 
farewell. 

'^Good-bye, Maryville," she said; ^^ I may 
see you in my dreams, but never again with 
my waking eyes, I trust." 

They had been but a few days in their new 
abode. Nettie, seated near one of the win- 
dows, was looking out over the sea ; Mrs. 
Hartley was reading the ' Times ; ' Jet, appa- 
rently under the impression there was a fire 
in the grate, monopolized the hearthi-ug ; and 
Grace was lying on a sofa, wondering when 
she should be strong enough to bathe, and 
walk, and climb to the top of one particular 
headland she could not lift her eyes without 
seeing. 

'^ I think I should get well at once if I 



Cojichision. 3^^ 



could only lie for a few hours amongst the 
heather, watching the bees as they hum in 
and out amongst the thyme," she said at 
last. 

"We will get some of the fishermen to 
carry you up to the top of the highest hill avc 
can find, in a creel," suggested Mrs. Erady. 

" I wish we could hear of a quiet pony she 
could ride," said Mrs. Hartley, in whose eyes 
the excursion proposed by IS'ettie did not find 
favour. 

" I don't think a quiet pony was an animal 
Gracie ever much appreciated," retorted Mrs. 
Brady. 

'^ I am very certain it will be a considerable 
time before she is strong enough to manage 
an unquiet one," answered Mrs. Hartley. 

"You have never told me," said Miss 
Mofi'at, turning towards the last speaker, 
" how you heard I was ill." 

" I heard you were ill," said Mrs. Hartley, 
taking off her eye-glasses and looking over 
the ^ Times ' at her questioner, " from John 
Riley. He said if I did not soon come over 



312 The EarPs Promise, 

to Maryville I should hear shortly you were 
dead. I should have mentioned that fact 
before, bat thought you were probably get- 
ting as much tired of hearing Mr. Eiley's 
name mentioned as I was myself." 

" I never intend to speak of John again," 
remarked l^ettie. '' I thought, Mrs. Hartley, 
you were his friend ; but I am sorry to find I 
was mistaken." 

''My dear," said Mrs. Hartley calmly, ''I 
hope I am Mr. Eiley's friend, but still I can 
imagine many things more interesting and 
amusing than to hear his virtues recited every 
hour in the twenty-four." 

" But you do not know all, or half ! IJ^either 
of you know how good he has been to me," 
exclaimed N'ettie. 

'' If we do not we must be exceedingly dull 
of apprehension," replied Mrs. Hartley — at 
which Grace laughed, and remarked if they 
did not know, it was certainly not for want 
of being told. 

' ' I never expected anything better from 
you," said Mrs. Brady, turning quickly to- 



Conclusion, 3 1 3 



wards her ; "- you never did appreciate Jolin^ 
and it seems as if you never would.'' 

''Well, do not let us lose our tempers about 
him," entreated Mrs. Hartley, ''more particu- 
larly as he is coming here next week." 

"Is he coming ? " asked Grace. 

" Yes, to give us what I earnestly hope may 
prove the conclusion of the Scott romance. It 
seems to me that since I set foot in Ireland I 
have heard of nothing but the Scotts, the 
Glendares, the Eileys, the Hanlons, and the 
Eradys ; interesting people all of them, no 
doubt, but I confess I like an occasional change 
of person and Id cident." 

"So do I," said Grace. "Much as I like 
the Scotts, I shall be very glad when I hear 
they all are on their way to America." 

" As if they could not have gone there as 
well at first as at last," observed Mrs. 
Hartley. 

" I was willing for them to stay on at the 
Castle Farm, but Amos would not hear of it," 
explained Mrs. Brady. 

"The moment, in fact, he saw he could go 



314 The Emdh Promise, 

the way he wished without opposition, all 
desire to do so ceased," remarked Mrs. Hartley. 

^^ Still, I think it very natural he should 
wish to leave Ireland," said Grace. 

^^Yes, but would not it have been equally 
natural for him to wish the same thing eighteen 
months ago ? " 

" I cannot see it exactly," said Scott's apolo- 
gist; and disdaining further argument, Mrs. 
Hartley resumed her perusal of the ^ Times.' 

From the foregoing conversation it will be 
inferred, and rightly, that influence had been 
at work in the Scott and Hanlon affair. The 
former was already at liberty, the latter be- 
yond the reach of justice; at least, so far away 
that justice might be excused for not finding 
him. J^ettie had made her statement, but this 
was so managed that those parts of the story 
which might have compromised her were kept 
in the background, and as no one wished to 
bring Mr. Hanlon to trial, it was extremely 
unlikely they would ever be elicited in Court. 

To the wretched parents at Hanlon's-Town 
John Eiley had broken the news himself. He 



Conclusion. 315 



liad taken all care and trouble off [N'ettie, and 
slie clung to him in her distress as a child 
might have done. 

To him, nothing in Ireland seemed so unreal 
as the sight of Nettie in her widow's cap and 
black gown trimmed heavily with crape to ex- 
press her mourning for the worst man and the 
worst husband, as Mr. Eiley believed, who 
ever existed. 

About l^ettie herself, however, there was no 
pretence. 

^'I cannot say I am sorry," she confessed; 
^' I cannot feel sorry. I wish I could, for oh ! 
John, with all my heart and soul I loved him 
when T was a girl." 

^^ Poor Nettie ! poor little woman ! I never 
repented but once making him marry you," he 
answered, stroking her thin face, '^and that 
has been ever since." 

" You did it for the best," she answered, 
^^ and in the worst of my trouble I never 
doubted that." 

Why was it, Grace Moifat asked herself, 
that Avlien she saw the cousins talking confi- 



^i6 The EarVs Promise. 

dentially together — saw John carry IS'ettie 

in her first convalescence from room to 

room, her head resting on his shoukler, her 

arm thrown around his neck in her helpless 

weakness — a pain went through her heart such 

as had never strucls: it before ? 

^^Am I jealous?" she thought, with an 

uneasy laugh, '' jealous of John! Absurd! 

Am I jealous of seeing another woman prove 

more attractive than myself? Yes, my dear 

Grace, that is what is the matter. You are 

growing old, and have got lean and ugly, and 

you cannot bear that your friend should, 

notwithstanding the troubles she has passed 

through, keep her good looks whilst you are 

losing yours. That is the secret of all this 

dissatisfaction. Time was when you would 

have laughed such an idea to scorn, in the 

days 

" "When I was young, 

And had suitors, a full score." 

Meanwhile Mrs. Hartley looked on, but said 
nothing; not to Nettie, not to John, not to 
Grace did she speak on the subject. 



Conclusion. 3 1 7 



Only to Lord Ardmorne did she open her 
mind. 

'-'- 1 think if we have patience, my lord/' she 
remarked uttering her oracle, '-'• we shall see 
what we shall see." 

At which his lordship smiled with a gravity 
befitting his station and his political opinions, 
and said, he '-'- earnestly hoped so." 

John Eiley came as Mrs. Hartley said he 
would. He had seen the Scotts off. He went 
to Liverpool for the purpose. Amos was dis- 
turbed in his mind because at the last minute 
Mr. Moody had informed him there were no 
long-handled spades to be had in America, and 
he wished he had taken half-a- dozen out with 
him. 

Mrs. Scott bade Mr. Eiley say, if it cost 
twenty pounds, she would send the first cheese 
she made in the new coimtry to Miss Grace. 
They had only one regret — that they could not 
take Eeuben's grave with them. 

"- When I promised to put up a headstone 
and have the grass well kept," added Mr. Eiley, 
''they began to cry; but they were tears of 
happiness, so Mrs. Scott assured me." 



3i8 The EarPs Promise. 



Before Mr. Eiley left, the quiet pony Mrs. 
Hartley had wished for was found ; and Grace, 
taken by many devious paths to the top of a 
very high hill, where a throne was made for 
her amongst the purple heather, and the bees, 
as if to do her honour, never ceased humming 
in and out amongst the fragrant thyme. 

But it was not there or then, with Xettie 
flitting round and about them, that John Eiley 
spoke. 

He waited till the leaves on the trees en- 
circling Woodbrook had put on their October 
tints — till Grace was almost strong again — 
till it had been decided Nettie and her chil- 
dren were to go to England with Mrs. Hartley, 
and inhabit a cottage portly Mr. Marrables 
was despatched to inspect and of which he con- 
descended to approve, — waited till the purple 
had faded from the heather and the Atlantic was 
beginning its winter wail of woe ; then as they 
walked together by the sea, he said, — 

" Lord Ardmorne has shown me how to save 
Woodbrook. It will require years — energj^ 
and hard work — but it may be done. When 



Conclusion. 



3^9 



Mr. Brady found lie could not oust out my 
father, lie wrote to Lord Ardmorne who 
would, he concluded, purchase the estate, 
offering to tell him, for a share in the profits, 
how its value might be doubled. 

"To this his lordship wrote, declining all 
communication with him on any subject what- 
soever. 

" Since Mr. Brady's death, it has been as- 
certained what his scheme was, and Lord 
Ardmorne proposes I should take Wood- 
brook into my own hands, paying my father 
a certain sum sufiicient to enable him, my 
mother, and the girls, to live comfortably, and 
myself carry out Mr. Brady's design. He has 
also offered me the agency of all his Irish 
estates, as Mr. Walshe has been given over 
by the doctors." 

'' And you will accept the agency and do as 
he so kindly suggests, of course?" said Grace, 
wondering why he paused so abruptly. 

"It is not of course," he answered ; " for 
the decision rests with you." 

"With me," she repeated; "what caD I 
have to do with the matter ? " 



320 The EarPs Promise, 

'^ Everything,'' lie said. ^' Grace, once be- 
fore you refused me, and I went to India ; if 
you refuse me again, I cannot stay in Ireland. 
With you I could accomplish what I have 
said — without you success would be worthless. 
If you say stay, I stay. If you say go, I go ; 
and when once my father dies there will never 
be a Eiley at Woodbrook again.'' 

She hesitated and turned her head away, 
then with eyes still averted put out her hand 
timidly and shyly. 

^' Am I to stay ? " he asked, taking it in both 
of his. 

And she whispered ^' Yes." 

^' I have heard such a wonderful piece of 
news " said Mrs. Hartley, as John Eiley and 
Grace entered the house together. 

'-'- What is it ?" asked the former, thinking it 
could not be'one-half so wonderful as the piece 
of news he had to tell ; but with which, to do 
the lady's discrimination justice, Mrs. Hartley 
was already aufait 

'^ Cecil, Earl of Glendare is really married. 



Conclusion. 



321 



and Mr. Eobert Somer ford's chances of suc- 
ceeding to the title are — nil. He is so dis- 
gusted at the turn affairs have taken that he 
has threatened to enlist if his mother and Mr. 
Dillwyn do not make some suitable provision 
for him." 

" He ought to have gone to work and made 
a suitable provision for himself years ago," re- 
marked Grace, running upstairs to take off her 
bonnet. 

"She has promised to marry you?" said 
Mrs. Hartley. 

" She has, indeed ! " 

It was quite true, and yet he felt scarcely 
able to realize to himself that the waves which 
once sung so sad a requiem to the hopes of his 
early manhood, had now murmured an accom- 
paniment to the sweetest melody he ever heard 
proceed from human lips. 

*^ Yes." That was the beginning and middle 
and end of the song ; but it never ceased to 
gladden him through all the years that fol- 
lowed. And when John Kiley forgets the 
sweet music he heard where the Atlantic 

VOL. III. Y 



32 2 The EarVs Promise. 



washes that northern shore — the music which 
has made his life one long continuous har- 
mony—he will have forgotten every sound of 
earth. 



THE END. 



PEINTED BY TAYLOB AND CO., 
tlilliE QUEEN SISEET, LINCOLN'S INN FIELDS, 



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